McDonald's Asian boost

McDonald’s, the global provider of burgers, along with alternatives for the weight conscious, is beefing up its share of the Asian market.

It has announced a 10.5% like-for-like rise in sales across Asia in February. China, Japan and Australia produced robust returns, pushing global sales up 4.8%. McDonald's had 1,135 outlets across mainland China by the end of 2009. It plans to raise its capitalinvestment in the country by 25% in the current year.

US like-for-like sales, by way of contrast, increased sales by only 0.6%. Sales were hit in the eastern states by the bitter winter with a downturn of about 2% despite the launch of a $1 breakfast menu.

European sales rose by 5.4% in February, with sales particularly strong in the UK and France. The chain is following a strategy of retaining the customers who traded down to eat at its outlets during the recession, while capitalising on the rise in demand as the recession lifts in the US and UK.

Tesco wins Asda shoppers

Tesco is following a policy of winning more customers by doubling points on its loyalty card and the policy is paying off. Tesco increased itsmarket share from 30.1% to 30.4% in the 12 weeks to February 21.

This improvement looks to be at the expense of Asda which saw a 0.2% fall in market share to 17%, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel. Waitrose, which caters for those customers who seek high quality and do not mind paying for it, gained its highest ever share ofsupermarket sales, up from 3.9% to 4.3% for the period.

NEW Sainsbury RUMOURS

City dealers have renewed their speculation that the Qatar Investment Authority, in which the Qatar Royal Family plays a major role, could renew its bid for Sainsbury by the middle of 2010.

The Qatar Investment Authority has just under one-third of the Sainsbury shares just below the level at which a full bid must be launched under the City's Takeover Rules.

There is also speculation that the Sainsbury family would be willing sellers of its key share stake in the chain if the price offered for the shares looks right.

The Qatar Investment Authority's first bid was pulled because of global panic at the nightmare plight of the whole banking system as a result of their holdings of toxic assets.

Morrison STICKS TO KNITTING

Wm Morrison has announced that there will be no alteration in its business strategy under the new boss Dalton Philips, who takes over at the end of this month. There are still more than 7m households in the UK that do not live within reach of a Morrison store, so its retail network has some way to go.

The business strategy it has been following has ensured Morrison's sales growth has outpaced rivals Sainsbury and Tesco in recent years.

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