It’s no shock to see FTSE 100 share Land Securities Group (LSE: LAND) sink again in Tuesday business. A 10% drop from last night’s close takes it back towards recent 11-year lows. I feared that full-year results released today would send it sinking again. But is it now a great dip buy for ISA investors?
A wishy-washy outlook for the retail sector leads me to emphatically answer ‘NO.’ With a drawn-out and devastating recession coming down the line, trading conditions for the retail property owner threaten to fall off a cliff. It’s already having a hell of a time as Covid-19 has worsened an already challenging landscape. Today it sliced back the value of its property portfolio by £1.2bn as it announced collected rents in March and early April collapsed to just 63%.
Bargain-hunting ISA investors might be tempted by Landsec’s low forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of below 12 times. A worsening profits picture and deteriorating balance sheet, though, would encourage me to use my hard-earned money to buy other shares.
What about this one?
Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) is another retail play I think ISA investors should avoid all costs. The clothing giant’s long been in trouble because of its failure to keep up with the times. It’s a problem that has seen other mid-priced rivals like ASOS, Next, Zara, and H&M zoom past it over the past decade.
The FTSE 250 firm has had to rely on its ageing customer base to keep revenues ticking over. It seems, though, that it may struggle to hang on to its loyal customers following the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on online retailing.
Data from Halifax today shows that the number of Britons aged 65 and over that are using e-commerce has ballooned since lockdown measures were introduced. The number of online debit card transactions made by this age group now accounts for 40% of the total versus a fifth just a year ago.
Another ISA trap
This bodes badly for M&S. Sure, it can expect the number of elderly customers using its online operations to grow. But its e-commerce proposition still lags those of its competitors by quite a distance.
It might have solved some of the supply-side issues and system problems that has plagued it in recent years but it is still playing catch-up. And it is in danger of losing customers not only to its traditional high street rivals. The growing e-commerce-savvy of its core demographic now puts it in the crosshairs of the internet-only retailers too.
Intense competition is, of course only half of the problem facing Marks & Spencer in the near term and beyond. Demand for its clothing is likely to struggle the longer lockdown measures in the UK remain in place. And after that, sales of its wares are likely to struggle as the twin pressures of Covid-19 and Brexit uncertainty crush consumer spending power.
Marks & Spencer shares are cheap, as illustrated by a forward P/E ratio of just 9 times. But like Landsec, this reflects the retailer’s rising risk profile. I would much rather buy other cheap shares for my own ISA.
According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US $12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…
And if you click here, we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential...
It’s just ONE innovation from a little-known US company that has quietly spent years preparing for this exact moment…
But you need to get in before the crowd catches onto this ‘sleeping giant’.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Landsec. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.