Results from the major retailers kept the just-food news desk busy this week

Results from the major retailers kept the just-food news desk busy this week

The UK's largest listed retailers reported their quarterly results this week, keeping the just-food news desk busy. Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons all be revealed how they performed over the keenly-watched Christmas trading period. Elsewhere, just-food spoke with HKScan CEO Hannu Kottonen following an announcement by the company that it plans to cut up to 295 jobs as part of efforts to streamline its domestic subsidiaries. Struggling US retailer Supervalu also had news this week, with its deal to offload five of its chains to Cerberus Capital Management.

"Especially at Christmas, if you don't turn up with the turkey you will lose the customer for life" - Jonathan Pritchard, retail analyst for Oriel Securities explains how important it is for retailers to deliver over the key Christmas trading period.

"To improve productivity is one of the four key strategic imperatives we are implementing. To assess business based on costs only can't be the main logic" - HKScan CEO Hannu Kottonen tells just-food the company must look beyong reducing the complexity of its operating units to improve its performance.

"Supervalu is especially vulnerable to the potential for further deterioration in sector fundamentals" - Analyst believe Supervalu has been under significant pressure to return value to shareholders via its strategic review following the deal yesterday to sell five of its chains to Cerberus.

"We know if we are going to do well in the UK we have to do well for consumers first" - Tesco CEO Philip Clarke reveals that in order to maintain its investment levels as it works to drive further improvements in the UK business, it will be "holding the margin flat" in the UK to reinvest into 2013-14.

"I can insist t I will be there [with the company]. I have full confidence in the team ... we have had a stellar performance" - Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland defends his position as CEO after being questioned as to whether he would remain with the retailer this year.

"Through voluntary commitments, manufacturers have made significant progress in reducing salt, saturated fat and calories in their products" - a Food & Drink Federation spokesperson told just-food the FDF and Department of Health are still fully backing voluntary initiatives as part of the Responsibility Deal between government and industry.

"In absolute terms, it has been many a year since our like-for-like was as low as 0.9%. It is probably the lowest [LFL result] of those 32 consecutive quarters" - Sainsbury's CEO Justin King is quick to emphasise that the firm "outperformed" in a "difficult" market in its third quarter.

"Currently, sheep's milk is growing [sales] faster than cow's milk and this deal helps us to position ourselves as one of the main producers" - Esther Gerster, a spokesperson for Emmi tells just-food on the benefits of its deal to acquire 70% of AVH Dairy Trade.

"We have been very explicit in the strategy that we laid out only two years ago that we will become a multi-format, multi-channel retailer" - CEO Dalton Philips insists Morrisons small convenience footprint and its lack of an online grocery presence are the "greatest headwinds" the retailer is facing.

"Our dairy products need to reach many new consumers as these increased global sales will help to maintain a viable dairy business in northern Europe" - Arla's chairman, Åke Hantoft says Arla has an opportunity to achieve profitable long-term positions in markets outside the EU with its new growth strategy.