Tesco has agreed to sell its south-east Asian operations to Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand for $10.6bn in cash, taking another big step back from its international expansion and setting the stage for a lavish return of cash to investors (The Financial Times £). Tesco has struck a deal to sell its Asian business to a Thai conglomerate for £8.2bn and plans to return most of the funds to shareholders and its pension scheme (The Times £).
Tesco is planning to hand out £5bn to shareholders and pump £2.5bn into its pension fund after lining up the sale of its Thai and Malaysian businesses (The Guardian, The Telegraph, Sky News, The BBC). Tesco has now completely exited the Asian market and is now solely focused on the UK, Ireland and Europe after it agreed to sell its operations in Thailand and Malaysia (The Daily Mail).
The disposal, however opportunistic, underlines Tesco’s six-year strategic shift under Drastic Dave Lewis to return the chain, then reeling from accounting scandals and over-expansionism, to its UK supermarket core. (The Financial Times £)
Tesco’s retreat from Asia leaves it even more reliant on sluggish UK market. (The Telegraph)
The battered retail industry suffered a fresh hit last month as shoppers stayed at home to escape storms Ciara and Dennis and the threat of coronavirus loomed (The Telegraph). Winter storms and the fear of the spread of coronavirus hit high street retailers and travel agencies in February, hampering the post-election recovery of the UK retail sector ahead of the Budget on Wednesday (The Financial Times £). Retail sales stagnated in February as bad weather kept shoppers away from the high street (The Times £). Coronavirus is being blamed for continuing high street woes, as consumers opt for takeaways and box sets over shopping with the crowds (Sky News).
The crisis on Britain’s high streets showed no sign of easing during the storm-buffeted month of February, while new figures show the number of retail workers losing their jobs this year is approaching 20,000. (The Guardian)
Amazon is starting to sell its cashier-less shopping technology to other retailers, offering them camera systems that automatically record what shoppers pick up and walk out with (The Financial Times £) Amazon has started selling its cashierless store technology to other retailers in a fresh push to shake up the ailing high street (The Telegraph). Amazon has signed several deals to sell its automated checkout technology to other retailers (The Times £).
Restrictions on the hours that delivery lorries can operate in built-up areas are to be relaxed in the latest step to deal with the coronavirus outbreak (The Guardian). The government is relaxing restrictions on delivery hours for shops to make sure shops remain stocked with basic items amid stockpiling concerns (The BBC).
Britain’s biggest supermarkets will warn the government that competition law might need to be suspended to allow them to co-ordinate shopping deliveries if the coronavirus outbreak becomes a pandemic (Sky News).
Food delivery and digital subscription services are witnessing a surge in sales while department stores, fashion chains and restaurants are taking a hit, as consumers opt to stay in with a takeaway to avoid the recent storms and the coronavirus outbreak. (The Guardian)
As global markets plummet and traders rush into safer assets, the outlook for oil companies is uncertain but there could be a silver lining for consumers. Cheaper oil will translate into lower petrol prices. A collapse in the oil price could encourage spending and act as an economic stimulus. (The Times £)
Alternative meat industry moves beyond the burger as cell- and plant-based meat start-ups are developing ‘cuts’ of steak and chicken. Unlike burger alternatives, for which texturised plant proteins and other ingredients including vegetable oil are mixed together and moulded into a patty, cut meat products are made by layering “extruded” fibres on top of one another. (The Financial Times £)
Tesco has struck a deal to sell its Asian business to a Thai conglomerate for £8.2 billion and plans to return most of the funds to shareholders and its pension scheme (The Times £).