Tesco this week outlined plans for a fresh offensive to try to revitalise UK sales. Meanwhile, The Co-operative Group, which has faced its own issues in recent months, announced it was considering the sale of its farm business as CEO Euan Sutherland looks to reshape the mutual. In the US, PepsiCo once again reiterated it is not keen on splitting the company in two, while Hershey, Mars and Nestle breathed a sigh of relief after the price-fixing case it was tied up in was kicked out of court. Here is the week in quotes.
“We are trying to change an organisation’s fundamental approach to pricing, range, quality and service and that has taken us more time than we thought to be candid” – Tesco CEO Philip Clarke coneded previous attempts to reposition the UK retailer had not yet to pay off.
“As part of the wider strategic review of all of its businesses, The Co-operative Group has decided that its farms are non-core and has started a process that is expected to lead to a sale of the business” – UK retailer The Co-op announces it is looking to sell its farms as it aims to get the company on a sounder footing and improve a reputation dented in recent months.
“Plaintiffs are before the court with nothing more than speculation as to the who, what, when, where, and how of the communications that allegedly facilitated the parallel price increases” – a US judge throws out a claim that Hershey, Mars Inc and Nestle were conspiring to fix prices on chocolate.
“The board and management have concluded that the financial engineering you propose erodes value for shareholders rather than creates value” – in a letter to activist investor Nelson Peltz, PepsiCo’s board of directors yet again reject calls from Trian Partners to split the firm into two separate companies.
“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family” – First Lady Michelle Obama on the reasoning behind the change in Nutrition Facts labels on food and beverage products in the US to include information about added sugars and updated data on serving sizes.
“We can bring our broader expertise into the Belgian market and we can leverage the famed qualities of Belgian potatoes and frites elsewhere” – Findus Group CEO James Hill (pictured) says the acquisition of the Belgian retail business of Lutosa will help achieve the company’s expansion goals.
“Our proposal to consolidate manufacturing across Heinz Europe, if implemented, would be a critical step in our plan to ensure we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible to become more competitive in a challenging environment, and to accelerate the company’s future growth” – Heinz’s efficiency goals result in the closure of two plants in Europe.
“The Pantry compares very poorly to its peers with its stock price underperforming its direct competitors by 474% in total shareholder returns and its debt levels double those of its competitors – 4.4x versus 2.2x debt to EBITDA” – Shareholders publicly lash out at US c-store retailer The Pantry for prolonged under-performance.
“There’s an appreciation for good quality food here. That’s a big attraction for any company at the moment, where they can get the value for their products, in particular food, which we struggle to do in the UK now because there is this expectation from the consumer that food is cheap” – Burts Biscuits MD Edward Burt says the Middle East is an attractive market for the food industry because shoppers are less price sensitive
“The significant sales growth on key ready to eat pouches has contributed to the confidence in buyers that there is demand for alternative, convenient and healthy side of plate meal solutions in the ambient aisle” – Merchant Gourmet head of retail Sanjay Davda says consumer demand for convenient meal solutions has led to the introduction of three new product lines to its meals in minutes range.