It’s a busy morning in the papers for grocery firms on the back of a host of trading updates, results and acquisitions announced on the market yesterday, as well as breaking news from the US concerning Diageo.
The drinks behemoth is reportedly under investigation for artificially boosting sales figures, with the Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker maker confirming an inquiry is underway by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The group allegedly sent more cases to distributors than they ordered. The move would enable a company to report increased sales and shipments. “Diageo has received an inquiry from the US Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its distribution in the United States. Diageo is working to respond fully to the SEC’s requests for information in this matter,” a spokeswoman for the company said last night after the Wall Street Journal broke the story. (The Guardian) (The Times) (The Telegraph)
Amazon overtook Walmart yesterday as the largest US retailer by market cap after posting unexpected quarterly profits and revenues ahead of Wall Street expectations (The Financial Times). The shock profit pushed up its shares and meant the online giant was worth more than $261bn (The Telegraph). Amazon said profits in the second quarter increased to $92m, compared with a loss of $126m a year ago. Analysts had expected a loss of $52m (The Times).
The FT reports that Walmart had bought out the remaining stake of an e-commerce business it already controlled in China. Asda’s US parent acquired 49% of Yihaodian for an undisclosed sum.
Sales and profits at McDonalds tumbled in the second quarter as consumers turned away from the world biggest fast food brand for healthier options. Sales slipped 10% to $6.5bn and net income dropped 13% to $1.2bn (The FT). While the BBC carries a story that buying a breakfast at the chain after the current 10:30am cut-off time might soon be a possibility in McDonalds home US market.
Another global giant reported better news as Starbucks revealed its highest ever quarterly revenue (BBC). Sales increased 18% to $4.9bn in the quarter to 28 June, which boss Howard Schultz said was “among the strongest and most remarkable quarters in our over 23 years as a public company”.
Most of yesterday’s activity on the London Stock Exchange is also covered by the papers, with the exception of Vimto owner Nichols’ acquisition of Feel Good Drinks and its half-year results with profits up 9% (read it here in The Grocer).
The weakening of lager sales in Europe at SABMiller was picked up by The FT and The Daily Mail; Britivic’s £120m acquisition of Brazilian soft drinks group Ebba is also in The Mail and The Telegraph; and news of better-than-expected results at Unilever, albeit with warnings of emerging problems in key markets is in The Times, Telegraph and Mail.