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    MKS   GB0031274896

MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC

(MKS)
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Britain's Asda charters own cargo ship to protect Christmas supplies

11/29/2021 | 11:19am EST

LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - British supermarket group Asda has chartered its own cargo ship to protect availability of key Christmas products, it said on Monday as it reported a drop in underlying sales in the third quarter.

Asda, owned by brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa and private equity group TDR Capital, said on Monday the ship, carrying 350 containers of festive products including decorations, toys, clothing and gifts, would arrive in the United Kingdom shortly.

British retailers are grappling with delays in international supply chains that are being compounded by labour shortages in domestic transport and warehousing networks, with a lack of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers particularly acute.

Asda said it had also increased the volume of turkeys and pigs in blankets in stores compared to last year, as well as building extra stock of festive products in depots such as mince pies, confectionary, Christmas cakes and puddings.

It has also recruited 15,000 temporary workers for the Christmas period and increased the capacity of its grocery home delivery service to one million slots in the final week before Christmas.

Supermarkets also face tough comparisons against record sales during COVID-19 restrictions last year that meant more meals were consumed at home.

Asda said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, fell 0.7% year-on-year in the three months to Sept. 30, its fiscal third quarter, having fallen by the same amount in its second quarter.

Like-for-like sales were up 2.0% on the same period in 2019, before the pandemic impacted trading.

Asda, which has a UK market share of 14.3%, lagging industry leader Tesco and Sainsbury's, said total third-quarter revenue, excluding fuel, was 4.93 billion pounds ($6.56 billion).

It said demand for online groceries softened during the quarter, with sales down by 2.7% on the same period last year as more customers returned to stores. Online grocery sales were up 80% on a two-year basis.

Asda has been without a CEO since Roger Burnley abruptly left the group in August.

However, last week it named Stuart Rose, the former boss of Marks & Spencer, as its new chairman. ($1 = 0.7514 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Jan Harvey and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
J SAINSBURY PLC -1.06% 288.5 Delayed Quote.5.62%
MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC -0.84% 224.9 Delayed Quote.-2.03%
TESCO PLC -0.40% 286.7 Delayed Quote.-0.71%
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Financials
Sales 2022 10 828 M 14 737 M 14 737 M
Net income 2022 362 M 493 M 493 M
Net Debt 2022 2 971 M 4 044 M 4 044 M
P/E ratio 2022 12,5x
Yield 2022 0,23%
Capitalization 4 439 M 6 050 M 6 042 M
EV / Sales 2022 0,68x
EV / Sales 2023 0,65x
Nbr of Employees 69 577
Free-Float -
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 23
Last Close Price 226,70 GBX
Average target price 245,96 GBX
Spread / Average Target 8,49%
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Managers and Directors
Steve Rowe Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Eoin Philip Tonge Chief Financial Officer & Director
Archibald John Norman Chairman
Carl Dawson Director-Information Technology
Stuart Machin Joint Chief Operating Officer & MD-Food
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