A follow-up to last week's preview of Tesco's (LSE: TSCO) interim results.
Last week, in a preview of Tesco's (LSE: TSCO) half-year results, I told you about some of the key numbers to look out for.
The UK's biggest supermarket announced its results this morning, so let's have a quick look at how it did in the first half -- and whether it's on track to meet analysts' forecasts for the full year. The forecasts are the analysts' consensus ahead of the results.
| ||H1 2012/13||H1 growth||Forecast FY 2012/13||Forecast FY growth|
|Trading margin||4.9%|| ||5.4%|| |
|Underlying profit before tax||£1.8bn||-8.5%||£3.8bn||-4.0%|
|Underlying earnings per share (eps) (diluted)||17.08p||-7.9%||35.1p||-6.3%|
|Dividend per share||4.63p||0%||14.83p||+0.5%|
* Excluding VAT, including petrol
Overall, the H1 growth percentages are below the rate analysts are expecting for the full year, so a much stronger H2 is baked into the full-year forecast numbers.
It should be relatively easy for Tesco to beat last year's H2 because performance was weak during that period and included an unusually poor Christmas. Nevertheless, the company has something to do after today's H1 numbers if it's to meet analysts' full-year forecasts. I wouldn't be surprised to see those forecasts edging down a bit now.
In the UK, like-for-like sales (excluding VAT and petrol) -- the key indicator of how management action to turn around the core home supermarket business is going -- were broadly in line with the expectations of the house brokers: namely, a Q2 rise of 0.1%, following Q1's -1.5%.
Internationally, Tesco's US 'Fresh & Easy' business continues to be loss-making at the same £70-odd million level as last year's H1. The company has to improve here in H2 to meet the chief executive's prediction earlier this year of a "significant" reduction in losses during the current year.
In the recent past, Tesco has relied on Asia and Europe as the powerhouses for group growth. However, a hefty fall in H1 profits in these regions now leaves the company facing difficulties on many fronts.
Finally, Tesco maintained its interim dividend at the same level as last year -- the first time it's failed to increase the dividend in I don't know how long.
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> G A Chester does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.