Tesco (LON: TSCO); trying to understand its crisis


Tesco (LON: TSCO) is giving its suppliers one bad signal after the other. Its unpredictability has created trouble for the retailer with its suppliers. The company has had enough letters and emails demanding cash for year-old bills and invoices with heavy deductions.

Supermarkets around the globe are like houses; their appeal depends on their location. Tesco (LON:TSCO) has been down in the dumps, considering the decrease in profits for the initial six months of the financial year. The decrease was about £250m lesser than previously indicated £1.1bn, according to Monday’s report by Dave Lewis – the company’s new boss.

The location in supermarkets is all about shelf space offered to supplier’s products. Everyone competes for better shelf space that consequently captures the customer’s attention.

The basic area where the company was said to strike a downfall was commercial income and accruals of cost. Commercial income meaning promotional money and supplier discounts, costs and incomes that were made in the quarter – this is where the company saw its downfall.

Executives were so optimistic regarding estimates of Tesco’s (LON: TSCO) earnings that they failed to differentiate between the period where the revenue was earned and where costs were stated.

A supplier commented that Tesco’s (LON: TSCO) moral compass came down as well. Its morality was questioned with hints on zero return; a situation where your money’s worth is not returned.

It is believed that Lewis has started an investigation on the issue with a team comprising of lawyers and external accountants, who will go through Tesco’s (LON: TSCO) books. He sent an email on Friday confirming his stance as to the ‘serious situation’. He wrote that the company required a change in culture and processes; with honesty, fairness and transparency.

Shareholders are pointing fingers at Richard Broadbent, the chairman who allowed these executives to take charge in the first place. David Herro, the chief executive of Harris Associates states that Broadbent was the leader of an ever failing organization. Herro is also a major shareholder in Tesco (LON: TSCO).

One of the largest suppliers of the retailer who is well acquainted with the executives stated that the company’s commercial income did not have such a drastic change in the past few months. He says that there was no material change; and the alarming bit was when the company seemed to report a huge profit warning. After that, encouragement was given to the trading team to give room to the new chief executive. He was the reason why they were being so conservative in their work. The supplier says he has his suspicions that there was a governing failure in the making.

A survey was conducted recently, in which over 500 suppliers dealing with supermarkets were approached. The revelations that came up were the different methods that retailers used to wring money out of suppliers which included: delayed payments, cutting the prices of products and compensation on profit margins. Tesco (LON: TSCO) better not be one to join the club. Let’s see how investigations roll out!