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Tesco (TSCO)     

Harry Peterson - 19 Mar 2007 18:13

Harry Peterson - 19 Mar 2007 18:13 - 2 of 63

Tesco 'One-in-Front' Campaign Wins Prestigious Retail Week Award Using IRISYS Queue Busting Camera Technology (LONDON, March 2 /PRNewswire)

Tesco, the UK's largest grocery chain, last night won the prestigious Retail Week Customer Service Initiative of the Year award, for its hugely successful "one-in-front" campaign. Using SMARTLANE queue-busting camera technology, developed by IRISYS, in-store queue waiting time is now kept to a minimum for customers, which Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco, sites as a key factor in boosting store profits.

Described by the judges as a "sight of the future", the queue busting cameras represented "what Tesco does well and what helps give it a competitive advantage".

The IRISYS cameras use sophisticated thermal imaging technology to measure and predict customers' arrival at checkouts, enabling managers to react in real-time to ensure the right number of tills are open to deliver the best possible service to customers.

In a recent earnings call, Sir Terry Leahy credited the thermal imaging cameras as being a key factor in the company's half-year pre-tax profits rising ten per cent to GBP1.092 billion. Leahy commented, "We have heat seeking cameras that sense the number of customers entering a store and predict the checkouts that need to be open in an hour. We can monitor and manage the service customers get much more precisely - by customer, by store and by the minute. Thanks to this, a quarter of a million more customers every week don't have to queue."

The IRISYS SMARTLANE solution uses ceiling mounted infra-red sensorsabove the checkout lanes to detect the number and behaviour of customer groups at the checkouts. The intelligent sensors automatically calculate the average queue length, average wait time and overall store performance against Tesco's One in Front(x) (OIF) customer service commitment. Displaying real-time queuing data on the shop floor enables the retailer's management team to deploy their multi-skilled staff to react quickly to potential queuing issues.

Attila Winstanley, Productivity Director at Tesco adds, "Ensuring we offer the best service at the checkouts is one of our core disciplines, and it is also one of our biggest challenges. Historically we have manually captured data on queue lengths at the checkout, but accuracy levels were varied. SMARTLANE accurately captures our OIF performance in real time, allowing Front End Checkout Managers to deliver better levels of service, whilst at the same time optimising the deployment of checkout staff."

happy - 19 Mar 2007 18:34 - 3 of 63

These recent broker views are worth a re-read.

shares in Tesco were firmer in early deals after UBS raised its price targets to 550 pence from 470, dealers said. UBS said it believed investors were starting to value the food retail sector using the PropCo/OpCo methodology, which involves splitting the businesses into property company (PropCo) and the underlying operating business (OpCo) and valuing them separately. It said the new valuations have been prompted by recent private equity interest and increasing property prices in the UK. It said that by using this methodology, Tesco has an estimated 22.7 bln stg of freehold assets which leaves the operating company (OpCo) trading at 10.2 bln stg which, when applying a 5% rental yield, values the business at 8 times price earnings to February 2008. It said Tescos OpCo generates a low EBIT margin of around 4 pct, but stronger profit growth of 14%.

target price increased to 500 pence from 400 pence by Credit Suisse as the broker said the groups US west-coast roll-out could mark the start of bigger expansion and sustain the groups profile, dealers said. In an upbeat note published this morning, Credit Suisse argued that although the US expansion is unlikely to transform Tescos near-term profit & loss account, it could provide numerous opportunities for growth if successful. The broker believes that sustaining the groups rapid growth profile of the last ten years for another ten now seems a realistic, rather than upbeat, scenario. Credit Suisse noted the stock boasts unique growth visibility among European food retailers.

SG Securities raised its stance on the supermarket giant to buy from hold and pegged its price target at 490 pence, saying that Tesco could benefit from a re-jigged property portfolio and sector valuation. In a note to clients, SG securities said the supermarket chain might make the most out of its property portfolio through advantageous interest rates, leveraging its British property portfolio and investing in cheap freeholds overseas. The advantages to the retailer are that it can keep a freehold level of more than 80% and retain a comfortable level of asset control, while cashing in on an excellent growth rate. The main threat, according to the brokerage, is that a bid for rival Sainsbury will fail to materialise and that valuation in the sector would thus overlook Tescos adjusted property balance. Bid or no bid, however, the property upside that Tesco can benefit from, will remain and make Tesco look very price-competitive in respect to its competitors, the brokerage added.

upgraded to add from hold by Dresdner Kleinwort with an increased target price of 460 pence, up from 425 on valuation grounds, according to dealers. In a note landing on fund managers desks today, the broker noted that Tesco shares have strongly lagged both their European and UK peers so far this year. Dresdner Kleinwort pointed out that the market is increasingly discounting a takeover of Sainsbury PLC, and as importantly, Carrefour SA moving towards a re-leveraging of its capital structure, with potentially, a reduced appetite for physical growth. The broker said in both cases the potential benefits to Tescos investment case are obvious.

Harry Peterson - 21 Mar 2007 07:38 - 4 of 63

Wednesday 21 Mar 2007

Tesco and British Land in 650m property JV

LONDON (ShareCast) - Supermarket Tesco and property firm British Land announced a 650m property joint venture, which covers 21 stores across the UK.

Tesco said the deal will generate it net proceeds of 570m, with recognised property profits of 142m.

The 50/50 joint venture has a 20 year term with an early termination option in 2017.

British Land said the portfolio has an initial rent of 29m per annum, which are subject to annual RPI indexed increases for the first 20 years capped at 3.5% per annum.

The deal allows Tesco to renew or buy back the stores at open market value after 20 years.

"The 50/50 joint venture enables Tesco to release funding for its future growth, whilst maintaining the flexibility to operate and adapt its property assets," said Tesco.

British Land said "We are very pleased to conclude this transaction with Tesco, increasing our investment in one of our favoured retail sectors where we see significant growth potential."

Harry Peterson - 21 Mar 2007 07:39 - 5 of 63

Tesco, British Land Form 650 Million Pound Joint Venture

By Angharad Couch

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Tesco Plc and British Land Co. formed a 650 million-pound ($1.28 billion) joint venture to sell and lease back superstores.

The partnership will involve 21 stores and the agreement will last 20 years with a termination option in 2017, according to a Regulatory News Service statement sent by British Land today.

British Land is Europe's second-largest real estate investment trust, while Tesco is Britain's biggest retailer.

Harry Peterson - 21 Mar 2007 08:18 - 6 of 63

21 March 2007


The British Land Company PLC and Tesco plc have formed a new 650 million Joint venture. The limited partnership incorporates 21 Superstores across the UK, all occupied by Tesco. It brings the number of joint ventures between the two companies to four. The new joint venture has a 20 year term with an early termination option in 2017.

The portfolio has an initial rent of 29 million pa secured against 21 high quality food stores. The rents are subject to annual RPI indexed increases for the first 20 years capped at 3.5% pa, with open market reviews in year 20 and options at that date for Tesco to either renew or buy back the stores at open market value.

The occupational leases have been structured to provide operational flexibility, in keeping with Tesco's strategy of continued investment, refreshment and growth of its store portfolio. This customer focused approach also reflects British Land's retail investment strategy.

Robert Bowden, British Land's Investment Director, said: 'We are very pleased to conclude this transaction with Tesco, increasing our investment in one of our favoured retail sectors where we see significant growth potential. The acquisition also adds to our portfolio of investments with indexed or minimum rent increases, now amounting to over 2 billion.'

Colliers CRE advised British Land on the purchase and Tesco were advised by Morgan Williams.

Tesco and British Land have three other property joint ventures, the first of which was formed in 1996. Assets in the joint ventures total 1.16 billion as at December 2006. The joint ventures include: 4 Retail Parks, 3 Shopping Centres and 13 Tesco stores.

happy - 21 Mar 2007 12:41 - 7 of 63

Broker Recommendations - Wednesday 21st March 2007, 12:31 pm

Seymour Pierce has outperform on Tesco.

happy - 22 Mar 2007 12:05 - 8 of 63

RNS Number:4713T
Tesco PLC
21 March 2007

Tesco PLC - Transaction in Own Shares

Tesco PLC announces that on the 21st of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 2,000,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 439.2242 pence
per share. The purchased shares will be cancelled.

happy - 22 Mar 2007 12:06 - 9 of 63

Tesco in 570m stores sell-off
Manfreda Cavazza
22 March 2007

Tesco is raking in 570m from selling a chunk of stores to British Land in a move that shows its commitment to unlocking value from its lucrative property estate.

Retailers have come under investor pressure to release cash from their stores to prevent the private equity firms circling the sector from doing it themselves.

Sainsbury is facing a takeover bid from a consortium led by CVC, which wants to fund the deal by selling the majority of the supermarket's 7bn stores estate.

Tesco's deal with British Land involves selling 21 shops to the property group and leasing them back at an annual cost of 29m. It is part of a wider initiative launched by Tesco last year to release 5bn from its 22bn supermarket estate, of which 1.5bn will be returned to investors in share buy-backs.

The rest is being re-invested into the business, including an aggressive programme of expansion overseas.

Tesco (up 2p yesterday to 437p) announced a similar deal with the British Airways Pension fund in January, thereby raising a total of 445m. Retail analyst Richard Ratner, who works at Seymour Pierce, said: 'This is more good news because it shows Tesco, unlikely to be a private equity target like Sainsbury, is committed to unlocking the value of its property portfolio in a similar fashion.'

happy - 23 Mar 2007 12:41 - 10 of 63

Tesco Transaction in Own Shares

RNS Number:5599T
Tesco PLC
22 March 2007

22 March 2007

Tesco PLC - Transaction in Own Shares

Tesco PLC announces that on the 22nd of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 500,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 440.9856 pence
per share. The purchased shares will be cancelled.

Harry Peterson - 24 Mar 2007 15:01 - 11 of 63

Some recent news from earlier this month shows you would not be alone in regarding this stock as a long-term buy.

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Shares in Tesco Plc rose 2.1 percent in early Friday trade on news that billionaire investor Warren Buffett has a 2.9 percent stake in Britain's biggest retailer, as well as an upbeat broker note.

According to Buffett's annual letter to shareholders, his insurance and investment company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owned 229,070,000 shares of Tesco at the end of 2006, worth $1.82 billion.

Tesco is due to open its first stores in the United States later this year and Buffett's purchase was seen by some analysts as a vote of confidence in its expansion into the world's most competitive retail market.

Buffett had previously owned about a 1 percent stake in Tesco, according to an industry source, but analysts said this was the first time they had seen a precise figure.

"Warren's got a great record of long-term investments in growth companies and it's really good to have him on board," a Tesco spokesman said.

The news was not a big surprise with British food retailing and Tesco's international expansion proving attractive to investors, said Numis Securities' Steve Davies.

Morgan Stanley's Nick Coulter raised his price target on Tesco to 490 pence per share from 380 pence in a note on Thursday on hopes for the success of its U.S. venture. Traders said that upgrade was also helping the stock.

"Tesco's entry into the United States could open a material avenue of growth and value creation," Coulter said.

Tesco, with a third of Britain's grocery market and operations in 12 countries, is due to open its "Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market" stores in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego in the autumn.

It opened its first own-branded store in China in January and will expand to the Turkish capital Ankara later this year, sources familiar with the matter said this week.

Tesco has also benefited from a sector-wide upgrade of British retailers since a private-equity consortium said last month it was considering a bid for Britain's third-biggest supermarket group, J. Sainsbury.

happy - 25 Mar 2007 13:46 - 12 of 63

Tesco has launched its 1,000-page-plus catalogue. Up until the last few weeks the marketing behind the Tesco Direct brand has been fairly low key, but it is now quite visible after promotions in the Sunday papers and a TV advertising campaign.

In the light of present bids for several stores I don't think we can rule out the possibility of a private equity approach for this company.

Harry Peterson - 27 Mar 2007 22:43 - 13 of 63

27 March 200

Tesco PLC announces that on the 27th of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 500,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 442.8 pence per

26 March 2007

Tesco PLC announces that on the 26th of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 2,000,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 438.81 pence per

23 March 2007

Tesco PLC announces that on the 23rd of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 500,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 439.8391
pence per share.

22 March 2007

Tesco PLC announces that on the 22nd of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 500,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 440.9856 pence
per share.

21 March 2007

Tesco PLC announces that on the 21st of March 2007 it purchased from Deutsche
Bank AG London 2,000,000 ordinary shares at an average price of 439.2242 pence
per share.

The purchased shares will be cancelled.

Harry Peterson - 27 Mar 2007 22:59 - 14 of 63

Tesco "outperform"

LONDON, March 23 ( - In a research note published yesterday, analysts at Seymour Pierce reiterate their "outperform" rating on Tesco Plc.

Tesco "buy"

LONDON, March 21 ( - Analyst Philip Dorgan of Panmure Gordon maintains his "buy" rating on Tesco Plc (TCO.FSE). The target price is set to 500p.

In a research note published this morning, the analyst mentions that Tesco is entering into another joint venture with British Land, which is expected to increase the former companys store count by 21 stores going forward. According to the analyst, the transaction indicates the significant undervaluation of the sectors property portfolio.

Tesco upgraded to "add"

LONDON, March 16 ( - Analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort upgrade Tesco Plc (TCO.FSE) from "hold" to "add." The target price has been raised from 425p to 460p.

In a research note published this morning, the analysts mention that the companys stock has significantly underperformed that of its European and UK peers so far this year. Although Tescos sales growth is unlikely to accelerate in the near term, the regulatory risks associated with the company have diminished slightly, the analysts say.

Harry Peterson - 27 Mar 2007 22:59 - 15 of 63

The fastest growing mobile operator is.......Tesco

(Posted in Mobile Phones by mad4mobilephones on 27 Mar 2007)

With a third of all new pre-pay connections during 2006 Tesco has rapidly become the second largest pay as you go retailer in the UK. Last year Tesco Mobile added 420,000 new customers and they now have a total subscriber base of 1.4 million users.

Tesco Mobile was launched as a joint venture with O2 and is now the fastest growing mobile network in the UK. They added more pre pay customers than T Mobile, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile during 2006 thanks in part to Vodafone and Orange focussing more on the lucrative contract phone sector.

Andy Dewhurst, the chief executive of Tesco Mobile, said

It's amazing how many people don't know what they pay for a phone call. They do with Tesco as we charge a simple flat rate.

Harry Peterson - 28 Mar 2007 17:41 - 16 of 63

Scotland on Sunday. 25 March 2007

Tesco and Royal take on money websites

TESCO Personal Finance and Royal Bank of Scotland are expected to launch a price comparison website amid concerns that existing sites are having an adverse effect on the sale of insurance and credit cards.

It is understood that Sir Fred Goodwin, the RBS chief executive, has given the go-ahead for the site in conjunction with its Tesco partner and that it will be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Goodwin, according to sources, is rattled by the impact of online price comparison sites such as, and The insurance, credit card and personal loan markets are being commoditised over the net, prices are being forced down and banks are having to face up to the challenge.

Former Standard Life and HBOS banking guru Jim Spowart got in on the act by launching for SMG, and Eamonn Rice, a former partner at Ernst & Young, launched another similar proposition called mform, backed by 5m from fund manager Artemis.

Direct Line, which has been ambiguous in its support for these sites, is said to be losing market share while Churchill, another RBS subsidiary, is spending heavily on television campaigns. The supermarket banks are also said to be under pressure as shoppers shift online for unsecured loans and car insurance.

One source said: "The banks like to be in control and they are seeing control slip away from them."

A spokesman for the Royal Bank said: "We look at a huge range of potential products and services all the time. I cannot confirm or deny whether we are looking at this option."

happy - 29 Mar 2007 07:43 - 17 of 63

Tesco Says Will Own Most of Its Property
Wed Mar 28, 2007

By Rachel Sanderson

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Tesco is reviewing its real estate portfolio while raising 5 billion pounds ($9.8 billion) from its property assets, but the world's fifth largest retailer will always own most of its space, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

"Tesco has a lot of property, but it is important to remember property ownership is an integral part of retailing and Tesco will always have a majority of its space as owned space," CEO Terry Leahy told Reuters in an interview at the World Retail Congress.

Retail property has come into investors' focus since a private equity consortium revealed it was considering a bid for Britain's third largest supermarket group J. Sainsbury last month. A sale and leaseback for its at least 7.5 billion pounds ($15 billion) worth of property is expected to be the engine of any deal.

Tesco is one of Europe's largest property owners, with an estimated nearly 20 billion pounds of real estate in 13 countries.

Leahy said Tesco would continue to review its real estate assets given changes in the "appetite" for owned property and different kinds of financing, but declined to say whether he planned to expand the program.

"We always keep it under review which is the thing to do with property ... but at the moment we are busy executing the program. It is very successful," Leahy said.

He added Tesco had "no plans" to revalue its property on its books following the surge in real estate prices and private equity interest in the sector.

"We don't revalue our property...It is probably more meaningful to do as we are doing, which is to actively trade our properties to establish their true worth in a real market," Leahy said.

Tesco would consider long-term financing again after the issuance of its 50-year bond last year, Leahy said.

"It seemed to be successful program and there was appetite for it," he said.

Tesco, like international rivals Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and France's Carrefour, is raising funds to take part in a retailers' land grab that spans emerging economies to the United States.

Wal-Mart beat Tesco to a retail partnership with India's Bharti Enterprises last year. Tesco remains outside the fast-growing economy where foreign multibrand retailers need a domestic partner to enter.

"We are still considering what to do in India. We do obviously require a partner there if we were to invest in India and there are plenty of very good business and people in India," Leahy said.

There was "no point being held to dates or a timetable" with regard to entering India, he added.

More advanced is Tesco's much anticipated, but highly secretive expansion in the United States slated for the autumn where it will compete withn Trader Joe's convenience stores and a lower price version of Whole Foods Market.

Some analysts have speculated Tesco will need to roll out upwards of 300 U.S. stores in its first year to be able to compete. Leahy declined to give numbers but said he would be "rolling out fairly quickly."

happy - 29 Mar 2007 07:45 - 18 of 63

Tesco banks on new store format to win over U.S.
Thu Mar 29, 2007

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Tesco, the world's fifth-largest retailer, believes it will create a new market in U.S. food retailing when it opens in the United States later this year with a new store format.

"We can't just go to the United States and do the same thing that is already done there. If we do something new, that will create business," Chief Executive Terry Leahy said on Wednesday on the margins of the World Retail Congress in Barcelona.

The much-anticipated launch of its "Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market" in the autumn is so secretive that Tesco built a test store inside a California warehouse and told curious onlookers it was a Hollywood film set.

Tesco has said it will open first in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, but analysts expect it to roll out nationally within the year, tapping a new market for lower-cost, healthy fresh foods, particularly in inner cities.

"I don't think you ever set out to take on any one competitor. I think we can grow the market. I don't think it's a case of taking business from existing competitors," Leahy said.

Leahy kept with Tesco's policy of not providing the finer details of its opening in the world's most competitive retail market, and reiterated he did not expect it to go head-to-head with world leader Wal-Mart Stores.

One person familiar with the matter has said Britain's biggest retailer looks set to launch a format straddling a Trader Joe's convenience store and a cheaper priced version of premium organic food shop Whole Foods Market.

But analysts expect that if it finds early success, Tesco will roll out larger superstores which would put it in direct competition with Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer.

Tesco has said it will spend 250 million pounds per year to open stores of just 10,000 square feet (930 sq m), smaller than a traditional 45,000-square-foot grocer or a Wal-Mart supercentre, with 200,000 square feet.

It aims to open more than 100 stores within a year. Analysts speculate that figure could be closer to 300, with some saying the high morale at Tesco's headquarters in El Segundo, California, could give it a competitive advantage.

A buoyant mood at U.S. Tesco could be particularly uncomfortable for Wal-Mart, which built its business on strong worker loyalty but has seen some of that eroded in the past year by negative publicity and employee lawsuits.

"Morale and motivation and making people feel good about themselves and good about the cause is an important ingredient in the success of any retail business and probably more so in America," Leahy said. "American employees really enjoy working for a business they believe in."

fez - 01 Apr 2007 09:15 - 19 of 63

Tesco denies abusing local market power.

Supermarket claims Competition Commission's line of inquiry into its dominance is flawed

Zoe Wood and Nick Mathiason
Sunday April 1, 2007
The Observer

Tesco will tomorrow strenuously rebut allegations that it exerts a stranglehold over the UK's 124bn grocery market as fresh evidence suggests that supermarket demands are putting farmers out of existence. Britain's most powerful retailer will criticise attempts by the Competition Commission to establish whether it has dominance in specific British towns and cities.

In its 28-page response to the commission, to be published tomorrow, Tesco will say: 'It is not credible ... to suggest that a grocery retailer could become so entrenched in a local area as to make that area incontestable by others.' Tesco will argue that virtually every British consumer enjoys healthy choice. And it will say that the planning system, far from inhibiting supermarket growth, has enabled 600 new stores to be built by the sector in five years since 2000. The document comes as many analysts predict that the commission will check the supermarket's expansion and prevent more so-called Tesco towns - such as Inverness where it collects 52p in every 1 spent - by introducing a competition test that will benefit store chains not already operating in the area.
But Tesco has branded such a move as 'wholly inappropriate'.

The competition watchdog is investigating whether the Big Four supermarkets abuse their power. The 28-page response addresses preliminary concerns raised by the commission in January. At that time its chairman, Peter Freeman, said he was 'concerned with whether Tesco, or any other supermarket, can get into such a strong position, either nationally or locally, that no other retailer can compete effectively'.
Since then the commission has been looking at how he supermarkets compete at local level, examining whether they take advantage by hiking up prices or offering less choice to consumers when they are the dominant retailer. But Tesco has effectively dubbed the logic behind the commission's decision to go down the local route 'flawed'. It argues that a different model should be used to judge whether competition is healthy - one based on how many shoppers flit between rival stores. It also insists: 'We do not raise prices or otherwise worsen our retail offer where there is less local competition.'

In January Freeman, concerned that suppliers were too frightened to contribute to the inquiry, encouraged anonymous submissions. Some farmers have now come forward. An anonymous statement published recently on the commission's website highlights the plight of one of Britain's dairy farmers. 'The price we are being forced to accept today is almost identical to the prices we were getting from the old Milk Marketing Board in 1986,' it says. 'We are being destroyed by the constant passing down of price cuts.'
Haresfield Farms goes on the record for the farmers lobby stating 'no evidence does not equal no problem'.

Separately, Freeman has admitted a private equity bid for Sainsbury's could hamper the inquiry's progress. A private equity consortium of CVC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Blackstone and Texas Pacific Group has been given a deadline of April 13 by the Takeover Panel to table an expected 11bn bid. 'If there was a private equity bid, we would obviously want to monitor it' he said.

fez - 01 Apr 2007 09:16 - 20 of 63

From The Sunday Times
April 1, 2007
Tesco sets out its stall to regulator
Jenny Davey

TESCO, Britains biggest supermarket chain, will defend its market-leading position to competition regulators tomorrow, arguing that todays shoppers are so price sensitive they will spend up to 30 minutes driving to their chosen grocery chain twice as long as was previously estimated.

The company, which is seeking to prove that the grocery market should be judged as a single national market or series of large interlocking markets rather than a collection of small local markets, argues that even a 5% price increase in grocery prices at a supermarket chain will cause marginal shoppers to switch to a rival.

This has been calculated using an international analytical tool, called the SSNIP test. Tesco claims that customer behaviour in most of its larger supermarket sites can be predicted with this tool. Many grocery markets overlap with one another and the whole country is covered by one or more of them, Tesco says.

It argues that the Competition Commissions approach to geographic market definition has been overly simplistic so far because it refers to the distance most customers are prepared to travel.

The supermarket giant insists that the commission should instead define the market with reference to marginal customers those who are willing to switch between retailers.

Tesco is trying to avoid being forced to sell off stores to rivals by the regulator by proving the market is large, interlocking and competitive. That is because in some local markets it has a market share of more than 50%.

fez - 01 Apr 2007 18:26 - 21 of 63

BBC news

Tesco has said it would be "surprised" if a competition probe into the UK's supermarkets calls for it to sell off some of the undeveloped sites it owns.
The firm was responding to a Sunday Telegraph article which said the Competition Commission may call for Tesco to give up some of the plots.
Tesco has the largest land development portfolio of all the supermarkets.
The Competition Commission is due to publish its initial findings into the supermarket sector later this month.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, at least two of the Competition Commission's six panel members looking into the supermarket sector want the main companies to give up some of the land they own for further development.
They are said to consider the big "land banks" to be barriers to new players entering the marketplace.
Tesco's executive director Lucy Neville-Rolfe said the company would be surprised if the Competition Commission hurt consumers by "penalising competitive success".
"Tesco's land pipeline reflects our flexible and innovative approach, which goes with the grain of government policy," she said.
"We build stores of different sizes, often in deprived areas and on contaminated land others won't touch and parcel together sites so we can invest in town centres, always taking risks on planning approval."
Tesco is the UK's largest supermarket, with a market share of 30%.
The Competition Commission was unavailable for comment.
The Green Party's principal speaker, Derek Wall, said it was essential that the Competition Commission looked at the development land owned by the main supermarkets.
"With one in eight pounds spent in UK shops contributing to Tesco's profits, it's fatuous to pretend that they'd be surprised if the Competition Commission acts to hinder their monopolies growth," he said.

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