Tesco is reported to be considering selling its South Korean unit Homeplus which is valued at over €5 billion in a bid to cut its debt and fund a restructuring programme. In Ireland, though, the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel show Tesco has just re-taken the number one spot from rival Supervalu.
David Berry, commercial director of Kantar Ireland, says the most interesting aspect of the latest grocery market figures is the level of competition between the three big supermarkets - Tesco, Supervalu and Dunnes. He says that supermarket groups tend to move ahead at different times of the year, adding that this time of year is a good time for Tesco. Retailers who offer a strong convenience element tend to perform well in the summer months, Mr Berry adds. The Kantar Worldpanel figures also show that Dunnes saw the biggest sales growth of the three big retailers at 4.1%, well ahead of the market growth of 1.2%, he points out.
Mr Berry says the grocery market is now starting to see people willing to spend a bit more on their grocery shopping, but at the same time they remain price savvy and want value for money. Consumers want to feel confident that prices will remain at good value levels and supermarket groups are putting more into their long term price cuts, rather than deep once-off promotional offers, he explains.
MORNING BRIEFS - Apple Pay, the technology that will turn an iPhone effectively into a digital debit card, will be available in the North in July but there is no definite date yet for its debut south of the border. The payments system will be in use at 250,000 locations across the UK next month as part of its global rollout. Apple's new streaming music service was also launched last night at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. It will go live in 100 countries at the end of June priced at $9.99 a month to allow subscribers stream songs from Apple's iTunes music catalogue.
*** UK-based banking giant HSBC is looking to let up to 25,000 staff go worldwide as part of a plan aimed to save up to $5 billion a year in annual costs. Another 25,000 jobs will go as the bank sells its operations in Turkey and Brazil. After weeks of speculation the bank has confirmed in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange this morning that it wants to achieve these savings, of between $4.5 and $5 billion a year by 2017. HSBC employs 450 staff in Ireland across its corporate banking, funds administration and insurance business here.