Tesco to report a “clearly positive” set of interims but will Christmas be cancelled?

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Tesco PLC (LSE:TSCO) is expected to report a “clearly positive” set of half-year results by Barclays next month, despite the company facing tough comparatives.


The results cover the six months to the end of August, a period that last year encompassed that mercifully brief period when there was a spate of panic buying as the first lockdown started.


This time around, the shelves are also a bit on the empty side but for entirely different reasons; namely, supply chain logistics and production difficulties at suppliers who are struggling to recruit employees.


Nevertheless, Barclays expects the supermarket giant’s sales growth to hold up well, despite the fact that the relaxation of many lockdown restrictions has made many of less reliant on home delivery – a scenario that, for a while at least, halted the seemingly inexorable march of the German hard-discounters, Aldi and Lidl.


Barclays is also expecting profits to rise strongly and robust cash flows.


“While it can only be good news to ‘bank’ a good set of results, a good part of the market’s attention is always forward-looking and there will likely be a great deal of attention on the outlook for 2H and (as always) any commentary on the prospect for the return of surplus capital,” the broker said.


Journalists not working on the City pages might be more interested in commentary on the aforementioned supply chain problems and whether Christmas is going to be cancelled.


Barclays recommends its clients should be overweight in the stock and has a price target of 255p. Shares in Tesco currently trade at 255.55p, up 0.2% on the day.


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