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Watson’s Daily: B&M expansion plans and Apple in India

B&M

There was a load of retailer data published yesterday by Kantar Worldpanel which shows an ailing Sainsbury’s losing sales and market share versus discounters Aldi and Lidl gaining sales and INCREASING their market share.

One company that stood out for me, however, was Liverpool-based discounter B&M which seems to be expanding at a rapid clip both at home and abroad.

It expanded into Germany in 2014 and made an acquisition last month of French business Babou for £80m.

It is also looking to buy outlets that will be discarded by Asda and Sainsbury’s when or if the merger goes through.

This company sounds to me like it is going places – it has its own niche, ambitious expansion plans and money to spend on more properties as “Sasda” is likely to have to sell a ton of real estate at cheap prices to enable their grand plan to go through.

The only thing I would say is that UK retailers have, in the past, had a nasty habit of coming a cropper when expanding abroad and I think that, in an ideal world, it needs to get its domestic offering spot-on before straying too far from home. But hey, if the opportunities are there, they need to at least take a look.

Apple

The second thing I wanted to talk about today was Apple in India. Basically, the company is facing peak smartphone in most of its developed markets where it earns a chunky margin and is looking further afield for expansion.

There are projected to be 442million smartphone users in India by 2022, a country whose population is expected to surpass China’s within the next four years.

The problem is that the average ANNUAL wage is only $2,000 versus iPhone prices being in the $1,000 region.

If Apple is to achieve its ambitions, I think that it will have to start manufacturing there. The good thing is that if it does that successfully, it could bring the unit cost right down and so if production could then be ramped up enough to export, it is potentially feasible that the larger margin from a phone manufactured in India and exported could be used to offset lower margins for phones sold domestically.

Just a thought.

Peter Watson

Peter Watson founded Seiha Consulting, a career transition consultancy, after working in HR and four recruitment agencies. He was also a stockbroker for 13 years in London and Tokyo, advising some of the world’s biggest financial institutions on European and Japanese stock market investment. He started writing the Daily (previously known as “Watson’s WIFI”) to help candidates prepare for interviews – but soon found that many others wanted to read it as well!

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