Retail analysts consider Morrisons’ options as festive sales tumble 2.5% after shoppers turn to supermarket rivals
Kate Calvert, Seymour Pierce
“Morrison has had another difficult Christmas, showing that management’s more aggressive promotional strategy has not resonated with customers. Its fresh focus has perhaps taken the offer too far away from its traditional value roots and we are not convinced there is a fresh/craft differentiated niche to be carved out.”
James Collins, Deutsche Bank
“[Online] will take some time – and start-up cost – to address, while management appears to be banking on changes in [communications] in the short term, part of which will be the new TV ads and programme sponsorship of Ant and Dec, who are, apparently, ‘in 20% of UK households every weekend’. We think, in the current climate, in particular, that customer behaviour won’t be heavily influenced at the margin by more awareness of provenance, points of difference etc, and that historic attempts to drive this as a point of difference did not yield much response.”
Jon Copestake, Economist Intelligence Unit
“Morrisons has been slow to respond to the increasing role of e-commerce and has been trailing behind competitors on the move to convenience channel formats. These factors have combined with a weak market sentiment in 2012 and a growing tendency towards polarised shopping habits which has pressured the mid-market retailers. Christmas trading is especially telling for retailers because it is usually a time for consumers to ‘trade up’ to more premium sellers, as evident by the strong results posted by Waitrose over the festive period.”
Joseph Robinson, Conlumino
“Unfortunately for Morrisons, it has found itself squeezed in a market characterised by falling customer loyalty and low volume growth. With the volume of promotional activity intensifying, the grocer has been unable to deliver a strong enough value message. Indeed, Morrisons’ update cites vouchering as a factor, which suggests Tesco’s aggressive investment with a view of retaining the initiative in the UK market is having a marked impact. Furthermore, the prevailing northern bias of Morrisons store portfolio has left it more susceptible to the general economic malaise and a rising tendency among consumers to view the hard discounters as a viable alternative – for quality, as well as price.”
Shares of Kirkland’s (KIRK -14.6%) sink after the company’s Q1 earnings report is in-line with the consensus estimates of analysts, but highlights the home decor retailer’s woes. A promotional environment in the sector and weak same-store sales are proving to be a major challenge, as the company cuts its full-year EPS forecast to 0.97 from prior guidance of 1.15. Post your comment!
Read this article: Shares of Kirkland’s ([[KIRK]] -14.6%) sink after the company’s Q1 earnings report is in-line with the consensus estimates of analysts, but highlights the home decor retailer’s woes. A promotional environment in the sector and weak same-store sales…
Transport group launches new bargain brand fleet of coaches on European routes with fares starting from £1 or €1
Transport group Stagecoach has pledged to “shake up” the European coach market by introducing its dirt-cheap Megabus brand to cross-channel customers with services joining London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.
Fares will start from £1 or €1 on a fleet of new coaches that promise free Wi-Fi and toilets.
Stagecoach chief executive Sir Brian Souter said the international routes would let them test ground in Europe ahead of possible expansion. The Stagecoach ambition would be for full coach networks abroad should moves toward deregulation in France and Germany become a reality. At present, cross-border routes are not regulated.
The first Megabuses left Victoria on Monday morning bound for Paris and Brussels. Souter said bookings were “going gangbusters” at the moment although the very cheapest promotional fares were unlikely to be so easy to obtain in future. Its main competitor, the National Express-owned Eurolines, recently offered promotional fares of around £10. A Stagecoach spokesman said peak fares would be under £40.
Souter said he believed there was great scope in Europe for coach travel and blamed heavy state subsidy given to railways for inhibiting its growth. “Italians are natural bus users. But subsidised railway does not sit well with bus services: you need it to be priced fairly. But opportunity comes with fiscal prudence in Europe, where they can’t keep throwing money at the railways.”
The average fare on its UK coaches is £8.50, and around $21 on Stagecoach’s US Megabus operations.
Souter said his company was working with Belgian manufacturer Van Hool on plans for a double-decker sleeper coach for its international lines. A single-decker version of the sleeper already operates from London to Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland.
Dr. John Homa answers questions raised by his group’s promotional gambit
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Boyd Gaming (BYD -10.2%) reported Q4 revenue that slightly beat consensus, but its per-share loss was wider than expected. Nomura says it finds parts of BYD’s results “curious,” noting that Q4 Las Vegas Locals market gambling revenue grew 4% Y/Y while the segment’s net revenue in the period grew only 0.4%, which could suggest a more promotional market. Post your comment!
Go here to see the original: Boyd Gaming ([[BYD]] -10.2%) reported Q4 revenue that slightly beat consensus, but its per-share loss was wider than expected. Nomura says it finds parts of BYD’s results "curious," noting that Q4 Las Vegas Locals market gambling revenue…