Latest Posts

Co-op Group Results – Bad Deals and Indebtedness

Just like Co-op Bank last week, it is in the notes to the accounts right at the back of the 41pages where the juice is to be found.  And yet again, just like the bank, there is a long – 11 paragraph – discussion as to whether these accounts should have been prepared under the [...]

Tesco – where are the price cuts?

Tesco has had moments of pure retailing brilliance.  It started online food shopping much earlier than its competitors.  Its clothing range F&F has been a remarkable success (like for like sales growth 10.9% with 200bp increase in gross margin in this results).  Tesco Direct catalogue was a smart move.  And Tesco moved into convenience stores [...]

Troubled Tesco – Initital Thoughts.

Tesco – clean Pre-tax profits £3.054bn down 6% (ex write downs) with sales up 0.3% to £70.9bn on “weaker and increasingly competitive grocery market”. For all the talk of the UK business being in trouble, it is the best performing of all their regions : UK trading profit is down 3.6%, Asia is down 5.6% and Europe [...]

The Cost of Living Crisis is a bit late…

The big economic story this week in the UK is the expectation that wages will finally start rising faster than prices.  This is the point at which Britons should begin to feel the recovery in their pockets and so is a key moment politically. The data will also help negate Milliband’s “cost of living crisis”.  From now on, the financial position of [...]

A final Look at the Mike Ashley Sports Direct Trade…

And finally, Mike Ashley’s sale of 24mn Sports Direct Shares. The 24mn Goldman bought from Mike Ashley printed on Monday at 8.30pm. I just thought it would be fun to have a quick look back to see if I can find the Goldman print of 24mn shares supposedly sold on to fund managers at the same price – 850p. Any prints [...]

Co-op Bank – Teetering on the Edge, Staring into the Abyss…

Co-op Bank: Teetering on the edge and staring into the financial abyss… You have to go to the back of today’s 2013 results statement to really get to the heart of Co-op bank.  And there is found the admission that the Board and management thought long and hard as to whether today’s accounts should be [...]

Marks, Co-op and Next.

Marks And Spencer 4Q Trading Update. Marc Bolland is like Nero – fiddling (with expensive adverts) whilst Rome (Marks and Sparks) burns.  When I look at the latest, Spring Summer advert featuring amongst others Emma Thompson, Rita Ora and Annie Lennox, all I can think is how much did they all charge?  It comes barely a few months after the costly [...]

An expensive relationship part 2…

I am still trying to get to the bottom of whether all Mike Ashley’s stock was sold on to institutional investors and at what price. If anyone had managed to get Goldman to return their calls, I would love to know (although they are very unlikely to publically comment on losing money and proprietary positions). However delving through the [...]

An expensive relationship?

Controversial entrepreneur Mike Ashley sold 24mn of his own shares in Sports Direct to Goldman Sachs at 850p on Monday night for £200mn.  Yesterday Goldman sold them to institutional shareholders in what is called a block trade.  But I hear from one contact that Goldman only sold 5million shares and was left with 19mn.   With the stock price down 9%, that [...]

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

(A warning that this is pretty technical.  I have tried to make it as user friendly as possible but the arguments are quite complex.  If you do not understand please email me back and I will try and answer your questions!) Michael Lewis’s book “Flash Boys” is creating a lot of controversy. Taken at face [...]