The industry’s first-quarter results continued to pour in last week and two of France’s leading retailers, Carrefour and Casino revealed sales figures that got analysts talking. Carrefour appeared pleased with its domestic performance, while Casino was encouraged by the results of recent pricing initiatives. Elsewhere, Tesco finally confirmed its plans to exit the US and revealed it had received and was pursuing interest in the business.
“If you want to be active in this segment you have to play by the book and this is something which is true in all geographies” – Casino chairman Antoine Guichard says the firm’s hypermarkets can be efficient if they follow the rules of “right prices and in the right structure”.
“We believe our balance between our strong position in our domestic market and leading positions in selected international markets gives us a resilient profile allowing us to withstand the challenging market conditions which we are now experiencing” – Carrefour CEO Georges Plassat said growth in Latin America and “stable” Asian sales offset weakness in southern Europe in Q1.
“Encouragingly, there are a number of organisations that want to buy the business in its entirety, so those are the ones we’re pursuing with earnest” – Tesco CFO Laurie McIlwee says the Fresh & Easy US business had generated “a lot of interest”.
“We feel management has still not been able to adequately explain how a business that had been growing 11-12% for 6 quarters in 2011-2012 suddenly dropped to +5% in Q3 and has stayed in mid-single digits since, with this quarter being the lowest quarterly growth since at least 2004” – Sanford Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood describes the Asia, Oceania and Africa division region as a “big disappointment” in Nestle’s Q1.
“With the productivity we are unlocking, we are able to invest in growth drivers like advertising and new product launches and to simultaneously drive margin improvement” – PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston says it will grow A&M investment at least in line with net sales.
“Trian is a respected investor, and we look forward to continuing constructive discussions with them” – PepsiCo, which has previously played down the need for “large scale” M&A, confirmed it has engaged in talks with Trian Fund Management’s Nelson Peltz.
“M&S have realised that they need to look overseas in order to secure growth” – Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders says M&S’s management had little choice but to look overseas to find growth opportunities.
“M&A is part of the reason why [X5] got into trouble. From my numbers, Magnit will be the market leader forever” – Otkritie Capital analyst Mikhail Terentiev considers whether X5 Retail Group could regain its position as Russia’s number one retailer from Magnit.
“We have stabilised our market share sequentially. That’s not yet the place we would like to be” – Danone CFO Pierre-Andre Terisse says it has seen signs of recovery for its dairy business in Spain, a key European market.
“A lot of the international brands – led by Mead Johnson who are at the premium end of the market – are pricing higher and higher to benefit from this demand” – Eurominitor International’s head of packaged food research, Lamine Lahouasnia, says value sales growth of Chinese infant formula is outstripping volume expansion.