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Tesco says it will focus on profitability before expansion in the U.S.

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON — The break-even forecast for the U.S. division of Tesco has been pushed back to early next year, the U.K. retail giant announced in its fiscal-year results.

The company noted its projected break-even for its U.S. unit Fresh & Easy now will be later than its earlier guidance because "[we] intend to focus on delivering store level profitability first, before pushing on faster with the expansion we need to create sufficient scale to cover our overheads." Fresh & Easy — which operates stores across Arizona, California and Nevada — however, showed "promising results" in the fiscal year ended Feb. 25, with an 18% drop in losses against last year, along with delivering a sustained improvement in same-store sales throughout the year, Tesco said.

U.S. sales for the 2011-2012 financial year totaled about $1.02 billion and ended the financial year with 185 stores and expects to end the current financial year (ending February 2013) with 230 stores.

"The U.S. is moving in the right direction, but I’d like it to move faster," Tesco CEO Philip Clarke was quoted as saying. "I need to demonstrate to shareholders, who have been very patient with us, that we can do it."

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Dexas boosts kitchen products portfolio

BY Allison Cerra

COPPELL, Texas — Dexas has introduced two new kitchen products: a new melon slicer and watermelon cutting and serving board.

Dexas said its new watermelon cutting and serving board features a nonslip, raised edge that performs two functions: it holds the cutting board firmly and safely in place on the counter while also acting as a raised barrier to keep juice and seeds on the board. The item, which also is available in eggplant, lemon, tomato, green apple and orange shapes, also touts a propylene surface and is dishwasher safe.

Meanwhile, the Dexas melon slicer is an 11-in. serrated knife that easily slices through watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melons. The slicer’s red blade is made of high carbon stainless steel, while the handle is made of soft-grip TPE and has embossed pressure points for the fingers and thumb to provide precise control. What’s more, the slicer comes with a protective sheath that protects both the hands and the knife during storage.

For more information about these products, visit Dexas.com.

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Survey finds consumers less inclined to spend more on eco-friendly products, services

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN — While 46% of consumers are more inclined to purchase a product if it is eco-friendly, nearly 60% are unwilling to pay more money for that eco-friendly product or service, according to new research.

RetailMeNot.com said its latest Shoppers Trend Report, which included data from a survey jointly conducted with Ipsos Public Affairs, found that 71% of respondents surveyed felt they were aware of the positive and/or adverse environmental impact of products they purchase every day; however, more than 4-in-10 respondents (43%) reported that when they actually make purchases, they do not think about the impact that those products have on the environment. Additionally, 40% of respondents said they buy green, eco-friendly products when they are readily available and there is no big cost difference (versus non-eco-friendly equivalents), although a majority of respondents (51%) report that they buy whichever products suit their needs at the time.

When it came to whether or not retailers’ support of environmental charities influenced purchased, the RetailMeNot-Ipsos survey found a mere 15% of respondents said support for such causes would lead them to be more likely to shop at a retailer, while 39% of respondents said "maybe" and 24% said "no." Additionally, 24% said that they don’t care about what charities or causes a business supports, therefore the factor would not impact where they shop.

The age, ethnicity and gender of these consumers also played a role, the survey found: respondents ages 18 to 34 years were more swayed by "green" cause marketing (23% versus 11% of those ages 35 to 54 years); while non-white respondents were more likely to say they would be persuaded to buy based on retailer support for a "green" charity (24% versus 14% of white respondents). RetailMeNot-Ipsos also noted that women were more likely than men (45% versus 36%) to buy green products if it is convenient and the price point is right. Other green purchasing leaders include college graduates (55%), Northeasterners (54%), adults under 35 years old (53%) and households with children (50%), which all said they are more inclined to buy environmentally-friendly products and to pay more for them.

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