Should you sell your Woolworths Limited shares?

As the following chart shows, Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) shares have delivered a tumultuous ride over the past two years.

Woolworths Limited share price – Last 2 years

Down 41% from almost $38 to less than $22 in only 24 months, no doubt, shareholders have already asked themselves if they should sell their shares.

However, with analyst consensus still ‘underweight’ Woolworths shares, many investors continue to believe further pain is in store for the owner of Woolworths supermarkets, Big W, and Dan Murphy’s.

Indeed, as we’ve already shown, Woolworths would have more to lose if it entered a price war with Coles, owned by Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES), yet it appears more and more likely as time passes.

Moreover, following the divestment of Masters and Home Timber and Hardware, Woolworths will have fewer growth prospects over the long-term, too. Amazon Inc is also believed to be making inroads for the Australian market.

All-in-all the recent falls in share price may be justified. Therefore, if you’re currently sitting on a paper loss, you might consider selling and taking some losses off the table — presumably incurring a tax-deductible loss. That’s what I did recently with my Woolworths shares.

Proceeds from any sale can be used to invest back in the company if you’re comfortable with the retailer’s outlook, or in other high-yielding dividend shares with better growth prospects.

Foolish takeaway

Woolworths has a robust supply chain and remains Australia’s largest supermarket operator. That’s nothing to turn your nose up at. However, given the divestment of Dick Smith a few years ago, closure of its Home Improvement division, and growing competition from Aldi, Costco and Coles, the recent share price falls may be justified.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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