Analysts have given mixed signals over Tesco’s growth prospects as the supermarket giant’s next set of results loom on the horizon.
Shore Capital analysts said they believed the six months to 25 August had been “a period of relative stability for Tesco” in the wake of the retailer’s January profit warning. Recent Kantar figures showed Tesco gaining market share from rivals in the most recent four-week period.
But analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley today said Tesco’s UK trading profits were likely to fall by around 13% for the half year, thanks to price cuts and investment in improving stores.
“With Tesco’s UK core chain performance currently the key determinant of the group’s investment case, we take comfort from a stabilisation of trade in recent months, attributable to more than just vouchering in our view,” they wrote. “We actually tweak up our full-year expectation for the core [UK] chain.”
But they “tweaked down” expectations for Tesco Bank, the South Korean business – and, most notably, for the costly US business, Fresh & Easy.
“Despite a cautious stance, we believe we have been too optimistic regarding self-improvement at Fresh & Easy, the negative impact of regulation in South Korea and the pace of underlying progress at the Bank,” they wrote.
Earlier this month Tesco’s stock was downgraded by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s from ‘stable to negative’.
Tesco will publish its interim results in the first week of October.