Domino’s 1H24 result revealed mixed information. Same store sales growth momentum has improved early in 2H24e and is an encouraging sign. However, the underlying cost growth for the business looks elevated and franchisee profitability is well below levels that will reignite store openings. While earnings may have troughed, we expect an acceleration in store growth is two years away given such low franchisee profitability.
Woolworths 1H24 EBIT growth of 3% revealed a stark contrast amongst its divisions, with Australian Food EBIT up 10%, but NZ earnings down 41% and Big W down 60%. The challenge for the company is that its Australian Food sales are slowing rapidly. We also expect the outsized contribution from eCommerce and Digital & Data to moderate. The concern is lower food inflation crimping Food segment margins and a lower profit margin for Big W. With a change of CEO and weaker food inflation outlook, we expect the earnings outlook on the company to be moderated.
Inghams reported 1H24 sales up 9%, gross profit up 32% and EBITDA (pre AASB-16) up 66%. The impressive result needs to be put in context given weak margins in the prior year. We expect EBITDA growth of 16% in 2H24e, with a slightly higher than usual skew of earnings to first-half as volume growth slows. We expect a smaller 6% increase in EBITDA for FY25e, largely driven by lower feed costs. Inghams good growth in FY24e EBITDA will be partly dented at EPS by a higher effective tax rate at 29%, previously 23%.
Treasury Wines reported earnings down 6% in 1H24. While a weak result, conditions are likely to be much stronger next half. We expect organic EBITS growth of 9% in FY24e and 5% in FY25e. The upside from China tariff removal and contribution from DAOU are the key catalysts for the business. If wine tariffs in China are removed in late March, there could be a 4%-10% EBITS uplift as the company as the company sells more mid-tier Penfolds volumes and there is a global re-pricing of the Bin range to 2H24.
Wesfarmers reported 1% sales growth and 2% EBIT growth for 1H24. The result revealed meaningful growth from Kmart and a large decline in WesCEF. Bunnings EBIT rose by 0.4%. The primary drivers of the result were improved gross profit margins and a tight control on costs given high underlying cost inflation. For WesCEF, reduced prices in ammonia and lithium will result in a difficult 2H24e. Kmart is at peak margins and ongoing cost pressures will limit margin expansion across retail in our view.
JB Hi-Fi reported 1H24 sales down 2% and EBIT down 19%. While a weak result year-on-year, profitability is well up on four years ago and on a normalisation path. Sales declines have abated more recently, but weak sales are likely for at least 12 months in our view. Gross margins are likely to soften further and operating cost growth will remain elevated. As a result, there is limited earnings growth over the next three years.
We are ceasing coverage of Costa Group Ltd (CGC.AX) due to a private equity takeover by Paine Schwarz Consortium. The shares will be suspended from trading at the close of market on Thursday 8 of February 2024. The Scheme of Arrangement will be implemented on 26 February 2024.
Domino’s company needs to clarify key issues in our view before a positive stance can be taken. We are looking for answers on whether Japan needs to pause store rollouts, the trajectory of sales in Europe and discounting intensity in Australia. There is a wide range of potential outcomes, ranging from whether Domino’s can quickly reignite store growth and pizza volumes or, more likely, store rollout struggles for another three years. Domino’s will release results on 21 February 2024.
We have produced a chart pack of retailer performance vs market. This market share report provides two insights – 1) Performance of key ASX-listed retailers compared with market growth. 2) Market structure and individual retailer performance over time. The most interesting perspective about the data in the near-term is the recent sales performance for supermarkets, hardware, liquor, and electronics. The data includes actual six-monthly growth in industry sales to end of December 2023.
Australian retail sales only rose 0.3% for December 2023. If we average November and December, given the Black Friday pull-forward, growth was still a weak 1.1%. The additional detail for December highlights a consumer that is increasingly cautious. Café & restaurant sales were particularly weak, along with liquor and all household goods categories declined.
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