Friday 24 April 2015

In a game where all eyes are on the profit ball, can Tesco afford to forget Net Margin?

Given that share price is driven by ROCE, in turn a result of  Net Margin times Capital Rotation, no one, especially share-incentivised senior management, will allow Tesco to long ignore the bottom line…

Tesco now has other priorities in terms of offer simplification, rebuilding of consumer and supplier trust, but ensuring adequate - at least 15% ROCE - rewards for risk will always be close to the surface.

The issue for cull-survival suppliers has to be not only contributing to Tesco Top Agenda items, but also finding ways of translating this support into bottom line impact.

Essentially, in terms of faster capital rotation, by simplifying their offer and cutting out over-lap and wastage, Tesco will be able to focus on optimising stockturn. This means that suppliers that can deliver more often in smaller quantities will be seen to benefit the company in terms of speed and availability.

By reducing the number of unprofitable (large) stores, and franchising off redundant space in remaining stores, Tesco will make their fixed assets more productive. In the short term, suppliers that can make the space work harder via in-store theatre will help….

This leaves Net Margin, with transfers from Back to Front margin an obvious option, unless Tesco can be persuaded to embrace supplier-driven alternatives…

Deep down the City does not care about Net Profit in itself, they know that a business can either be small margin, fast rotation, or big margin slow rotation. All they want is an acceptable overall result - ROCE - to justify risk and exposure, and invest in the share price.

Retailers and their suppliers will be left to deliver the rest… See how here

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