Tesco: If Buffett's In, So Am I


LONDON -- We're all familiar with the alleged decline of Tesco as a destination for shoppers.

Indeed, the Kantar index has continually highlighted a decline in U.K. market share for the company, with rivals such as J. Sainsbury picking up the slack with its slick marketing campaigns and value-for-money offering.

Furthermore, the situation outside of the U.K. does not appear to be any better. The U.S. operation, Fresh & Easy, will be sold due to continuing losses, while restricted trading laws are not aiding the company's performance in South Korea.

If the above isn't bad enough, add horsemeat to the mix (a handful of Tesco products were found to contain more than 1% horsemeat) and the situation appears to be rather challenging for Tesco boss Philip Clarke.

However, none of the above puts me off investing in the company. In fact, I think now is the perfect time to be buying the shares as the most successful investor in the world, Warren Buffett, continues to hold around 5% of Tesco. If it's good enough for Warren, it's good enough for me.

Of course, I'm not solely relying on the fact that Berkshire Hathaway is a major shareholder to convince me that now is an opportune moment to buy shares in the supermarket. Tesco currently trades on a P/E of just 9, which compares extremely well to the consumer services sector on a multiple of 15. Meanwhile, Tesco also seems cheap when compared to the FTSE 100, which has a P/E ratio of 12.

In addition, Tesco shares yield an impressive 4.5%, which is an appealing number at a time of historically low interest rates.

Of course, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. With earnings forecast to experience no growth over the next couple of years, shareholders such as me will need to hope for a rerating of the stock to deliver capital gains.

Although I feel company management seems to have taken its eye off the ball, I still believe the supermarket makes for an appealing investment. Warren's seal of approval gives me a dollop of confidence, while the decent yield and lowly P/E act as convincers should I still need a shove to hit the buy button.

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The article Tesco: If Buffett's In, So Am I originally appeared on Fool.com.

Peter Stephens owns shares of Tesco. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Tesco. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published