Stocks to watch
■ Myer Holdings Limited (MYR) buy
I VISITED one of our two big supermarket chains recently and the experience prompted me to draft a letter of complaint. After running late one evening I dropped in to order some free-range ham (at $30 per kg). On arriving home, I found the ham was mixed with Smiley Devon, which some parents may recognise as an offal-based product young children love, yet inedible for most discerning adults. The company replied, but were dismissive. Compare that with Myer, who also received one of my letters recently (yes, I'm a serial complainer and pest.) Not only did I get a carefully drafted reply addressing my concerns, but an assurance that head honcho Bernie Brookes would be made aware of the content. Shallow platitudes perhaps, but last week's AGM presentation simply confirmed my view that Myer is genuinely interested in improving customer service.
■ M2 Telecommunications (MTU) buy
More on service standards. I've finally lost patience with our internet service provider and have been analysing alternative options. M2 is on our shortlist, and with long-awaited access to the NBN also imminent, it will be interesting to see how the transition to a new provider is handled. M2 is clearly doing something right - a recent investor presentation included a number of graphs all rising in the preferred manner, and if present guidance is correct, the stock is significantly undervalued even after a long share price rally. It's been on my ''buy'' list for some time so let's hope their service lives up to the promise.
■ Greencross Limited (GXL) watch
My animal collection is limited these days - just four chickens and two guinea pigs. Small pets like these require limited veterinary care, unlike those owned by my business partner whose menagerie includes dogs, cats, and a large black horse. Scarcely a week passes without her writing a substantial cheque. Greencross probably benefits from some of her expenditure. The company is building a holistic chain of animal treatment and pathology centres across Australia, employing 1000 staff in the process. I think there could be years of growth to come as the fragmented animal care industry rationalises, but Greencross is a touch too expensive for me at the moment.
Tom Ellison is the general manager of wfg equities, holder of AFSL 339136. This column is for general information only and should not be construed as financial advice.