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Home / Blog / blog / Trader’s Corner – Does Drastic Departure Spell Disaster? 04-10-2019

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Trader’s Corner – Does Drastic Departure Spell Disaster? 04-10-2019

The highly anticipated half-year results from supermarket giant Tesco were delivered alongside the shock resignation of its CEO, Dave Lewis, on Wednesday. Mr Lewis explained his decision to step down from the helm as personal, saying that a CEO tenure should be finite and ‘now is the time to pass the baton.’ Despite this news share prices were up 1.4% on Wednesday morning, although they are down slightly to 234.90p at the time of writing. Half year revenues for the UK and Ireland came in at £31.91 bn, beating the estimated £31.79 bn. Group sales to August increased by 0.1% and sales increased across all regions except Central Europe, where the business strategy is already being repositioned. So, should investors be looking to buy, sell or hold in the wake of Mr Lewis’s shock exit?

Dubbed ‘Drastic Dave’ because of his wholesale changes when he took on a beleaguered Tesco in 2014, there is no doubt that Mr Lewis has been instrumental to turning around the chain’s fortunes. A strong successor has already been announced though in the shape of Ken Murphy who is chief commercial officer of retail giant Boots Walgreen Alliance, which should bolster investor confidence.

Ted Baker is in turmoil as shares crashed 35% after it posted a £23m loss for the six months to August, down from a £24.5 m profit last year. The British fashion brand’s share price has hit a nine-year low and is now standing at 565.74 at the time of writing. The high-end retailer has lost 60 per cent from the value of its shares since the start of the year and its basic earnings per share have plummeted 207 per cent to a 46.1p loss. So, could the formerly resilient brand turn things around or has it fallen out of fashion for good? While Ted Baker has blamed a tough retail outlook, accounting adjustments relating to an acquisition and the controversial departure of founder, Ray Kelvin, analysts remain unconvinced. Many believe that the 30-year old brand is losing its relevance and its high price point is turning customers off. With no definitive rebranding plan in place, the predominant opinion seems to be that there’s no light at the end of the catwalk just yet.

Social media giant Facebook has seen the latest in a wave of downgrades from analysts, which have been coming since April. The platform’s growth has been impressive over the past five years – share prices are up 128%, 179.36 USD at the time of writing, and revenues have risen 300% in the same period. Yet, at the end of March 73% of Wall Street analysts were projecting that Facebook’s earnings per share would be revised upward – now that figure has dropped to below 25%. This loss of confidence could be blamed on several factors, including increased scrutiny on data privacy, concerns about election interference and a second quarter performance that has dropped by 44% compared to the same period last year. So, should investors consider logging out or is it just a temporary glitch? While it looks like there could be more volatility ahead for the social media site, especially considering the regulatory backlash around its attempts to build cryptocurrency Libra, Facebook’s stock is still up 29% year-to-date, so there’s no call for panic just yet.

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