THOSE with an innate fear of homogeneity may break into a cold sweat at the mention of Tesco, but there is no question that the supermarket is a robust business play.
Faced with a decidedly tricky first quarter – roaring petrol prices eating a hole in shoppers’ pockets; depressed food inflation; a raft of potholes to overcome internationally, such as political troubles in Asia and the Eurozone’s economic woes – the group responded with a vanilla performance. “Flat” was the most widely used word in yesterday’s results.
Yet analysts remain convinced of Tesco’s long-term ability to munch further into competitors’ market share. The sizeable hiccup of Sir Terry Leahy’s departure has been traversed with the minimum of ado, with the promotion of Tesco lifer Phil Clarke, an eminently safe pair of hands. Add to that fingers in a diverse variety of international, banking, online and mobile pies, bolstering the core UK food operations, and you have a recipe for success.