Fact is, Tesco is too big for its home market and obviously has trouble going beyond it. It sells about one-third of England's groceries, and has become the kind of target for English writers that Wal-Mart (WMT)has become here.
So why is the stock up 9% this year? Possibly it's due to the success of its online shopping unit, Tesco.com, which seems to have cracked the code for selling real groceries over the Internet, at least in England. It could be the new "Tesco Extra" shops, which it calls a "destination" store - think a large Kroger but with clothes. Or it could just be that a rising tide lifts all boats, even leaky ones - the FTSE average is up 15% overall.
Whatever it is more than half the analysts following Tesco stock have it rated a "buy" or "strong buy."
Personally, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. I think it's a big target at home and a big failure abroad. I'd much rather own stock in Kroger or even WalMart, whose Asda chain is the nation's second-largest. Better yet Costco, of which I do own 100 shares.At the time of publication, the author was long Costco. Follow @DanaBlankenhorn This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.