Investor enthusiasm for Woolies is not abating as the shares keep pushing higher, now up a whopping 4.5 per cent at $26.64.

It’s a bit curious considering the dividend cut and a result that came in below expectations, due to falling supermarket margins and a disappointing Big W result.

Nor was CEO Brad Banducci’s outlook in the ensuing analyst call particularly bullish.

“We were comfortable with the progress we made to ensure we had the right the right mix of price for customers (but) we feel we still have some work to do on how we communicate price,” Banducci told journalists.

He offered no earnings outlook but said the company expected “trading conditions to remain competitive for the rest of this financial year”.

But all that seems to have been priced in. So it’s really more about the rivalry with Coles, and news that Australia’s biggest supermarket chain finally beat its arch rival on same-store sales growth in the December quarter, coming out in front for the first time in more than seven years, is feeding hopes of Wollies winning market share.

“The supermarket business continues to try to differentiate by way of superior customer service and experience, and the narratives throughout the report reflect this,” said Gary Huxtable, client adviser at Atlantic Pacific Securities.


February 22, 2017