Why has the Woolworths share price outperformed Wesfarmers so far in 2022?

Below we take a look at the recent performance between the two conglomerate giants.

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Key points

  • Woolworths shares have edged higher in 2022 while Wesfarmers shares have nosedived 
  • In the H1 FY22 results, Woolworths better adapted to the changing environment 
  • Wesfarmers on the other hand struggled with temporary store closures from its Kmart business 

The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price has continued to climb in recent times.

In fact, on Thursday’s market close, the conglomerate’s shares edged 0.58% higher to $38.48, closing in on its 2022 high.

On the other hand, Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) shares have struggled to hold ground. Its shares hit a 52-week low of $47.45 in late February and are travelling sideways since.

In contrast, Wesfarmers shares finished 0.10% lower to $48.33 at the end of Thursday’s trading session.

When looking at year to date, Woolworths shares are up almost 2%, while Wesfarmers shares are down more than 18%.

What’s the difference between the two conglomerate giants?

While COVID-19 created one of the most challenging six months for Woolworths, it ended the period with positive trading momentum.

Learning from the Delta outbreak, management swung its action plans in place dealing with isolating employees and supply chain issues.

As a result, group sales grew strongly in the first half by 8% to $31,894 million.

In contrast, Wesfarmers reported robust earnings for its Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers business, as well as Bunnings. However, this was offset by slower sales across Officeworks and the Kmart group. The latter had been impacted by temporary store closures between July and October 2021.

Wesfarmers management noted that the entire group’s retail businesses experienced around 34,000 store trading days affected by trading restrictions. This represented almost 20% of total store trading days for the first half.

In addition, operating costs and stock availability were impacted by ongoing supply chain disruptions and elevated team member absenteeism.

Looking at the top line, Wesfarmers recorded a 0.1% loss to $17,758 million for the H1 FY22 period.

Is the Woolworths share price a buy?

Since the release of its half year results, a number of brokers have weighed in on the company’s shares.

Citi analysts upgraded their outlook on Woolworths shares to buy from neutral, with a price target of $40.30 per share.

Following suit, Jefferies also had a bullish outlook, adding 8.1% to $40.

Based on the current Woolworths share price of $38.48, this implies a slight upside of roughly 4%.

Woolworths has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 5.86, with a trailing dividend yield of 2.44%.

Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. 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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