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
has become here.
So why is the stock up 9% this year? Possibly it's due to the success of its online shopping unit,
, 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.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.