Tesco drifts ahead of Wednesday’s figures

In an ominous move, ahead of Tesco’s figures later in the week, HSBC has downgraded its rating of the company to underweight.

Hot on the heels of last week’s Black Friday, we are currently enjoying Cyber Monday. Until a few years ago, this was not a particularly auspicious day in the diary. However, it has now assumed an important role in helping to assess and predict the retail markets’ online sales ahead of year-end. Visa is expecting UK shoppers to spend over £5000 per second today, an increase of around 16% from last year. Although today’s sales are a close reflection of the broader festive holiday sales, and therefore have a large weighting of electrical goods, the figures do highlight the shifting demographics of the underlying UK retail market.

Tesco offers a decent online sales platform, and certainly in comparison to some of the other top-four food retailers it is excellent. However, its in-store sales have failed to impress. The fact that, several days before the release of figures, HSBC feels compelled to state that the firm appears weaker than it was in 2012, and that efforts to refocus on the home UK market have so far been unsuccessful, does not bode well for Wednesday’s release.

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