I originallybroughtMorrisons (LSE: MRW) shares as I thought the company looked cheap. At around 180p per share, the company was trading below the value of its property on the balance sheet and book value, after for accounting for liabilities.
However, over the past six months the UK retail market has changed drastically, and Morrisons has started to look over, not undervalued.
For more than a year, its been clear that Morrisonsis struggling to compete in an increasingly competitiveretail market. Nonetheless, Morrisonshas the tools available to it to make a comeback. Unfortunately, the company is not moving fast enough.
Indeed, Morrisons has long been criticised for failing to keep up with the rapidly changing retail environment. For example, the company has only really entered the online market, its attempt at a customer loyalty scheme leaves much to be desired and the companys in-store offering is is disappointing when compared to the likes of Tesco.
Still, Morrisonswas founded on the stack em high, sell em cheap mentalitythat has helped upstarts Aldi and Lidlsnatch market share from their larger peers. And after spending several years trying to go upmarket, Morrisons is now trying to return to its cheap and cheerful strategy in an attempt boost sales.
But even though sales should, in theory, receive a boost from this strategy, earnings are set to take a big hit. In particular, City analysts expect Morrisons to report a pre-tax profit of 400m for the year ending 31 Jan 2015. Earnings per share are set to fall to 12.5p. These figures put Morrisons on a forward P/E of 13.9, which looks expensive considering the state of the UK retail market.
Whats more, unlike peer Tesco, which deserves a premium valuation due to its market leading position and international exposure, theres no obvious reason to pay a premium for Morrisons shares.
Having said all of the above, what really attracted me to Morrisons in the first place was the companys property portfolio. However, there have been several developments recently that lead me to reconsider this valuation metric.
Firstly, Morrisons is selling a large chunk of its property to pay off debt and fund its lofty dividend. And secondly, as the UK retail environment changes, theres a very real possibility that the value of Morrisons large superstores may be marked-down as their earnings potentialevaporates. These two factors could quickly erase Morrisons asset value and shareholder equity.
All in all, theres just too much uncertainty surrounding the company and its outlook right now. So, Ive now sold my Morrisons holding, and Im looking for opportunities elsewhere.
In order to seek out the best opportunities, I’m following these seven key steps allsuccessful investors follow. These key steps are designed with one thing in mind; to help you create a portfolio that could bring you closer to financial freedom for life.
If you’re intriguedand want to find out more,To help, the Motley Fool has put together this free, no obligation report, which covers the seven key steps need to create serious wealth in depth.
The report is only available for a limited time. Soclick hereto get your free copy today.
This is somethingevery serious investor should take a look at.
Get FREE Issues of The Motley Fool Collective
Get straightforward advice on whats really happening with the stock markets, direct to your inbox. Help yourself with our FREE email newsletter designed to help you protect and grow your portfolio wealth.
By providing your email address, you consent to receiving further information on our goods and services and those of our business partners. To opt-out of receiving this information click here. All information provided is governed by our Privacy Statement.