Why Goldman Sachs rates Wesfarmers shares as a buy

The leading broker is a big fan of this ASX giant.

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Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) shares have been strong performers in 2024.

Since the start of the year, the conglomerate's shares are up 18%.

This means that a $10,000 investment at the end of last year, would be worth almost $12,000 today.

But are the gains over? Let's see what analysts at Goldman Sachs are saying about the Bunnings owner.

Are Wesfarmers shares a buy?

The team at Goldman Sachs thinks that there's room for the company's shares to keep rising a touch from here.

According to a note out of the investment bank this morning, its analysts have retained their buy rating and lifted their price target to $68.80 (from $66.00).

However, with this price target only marginally ahead of where Wesfarmers' shares trade now, investors may be better off waiting for a pullback before jumping in.

What is the broker saying?

Goldman believes that the market underappreciates a number of opportunities that Wesfarmers has across its business. It commented:

Our upgrade thesis in Jan was centered around robust growth of the Australian DIY Home Improvement market and continued cost efficiencies driving strong Retail free cash flow for new platform investments. That said, we believe that several corporate wide opportunities remain under-appreciated by the market. These include Digital, Retail Media and the WES Health platform.

In respect to digital, the broker points out that Wesfarmers has a treasure trove of consumer data to leverage thanks to its loyalty programs. It said:

WES has the largest volume of consumer data assets including 63mn monthly retail (1H24) website visits and 14.2mn total loyalty members across Flybuys, Priceline and PowerPass.

Retail Media and Health growth

Goldman sees a lot of potential in the Wesfarmers Retail Media business. In fact, it believes it can become a meaningful earnings contributor by the end of the decade. It explains:

We estimate that Retail Media in Australia will reach ~A$2.7B in FY30e, or 17% of advertising revenue. Dominant scaled players in high frequency and specialty retail categories are most likely to benefit. As an adjacent opportunity to WES's digital strategy, our blue-sky scenario suggests that Retail Media can add ~1% to WES's FY30e Retail sales, and ~4% EBIT profit. We value the upside option at ~A$2.0/sh.

Finally, the Wesfarmers Health business is also underappreciated by the market according to Goldman. Particularly given its massive market opportunity. It said:

We continue to believe that the vertical TAM is A$97B with an attractive profit pool of ~A$9B. WES's existing API assets will benefit from upgraded automated pharmaceutical wholesale DC. We remain confident that the Non-Invasive Aesthetics business could transform the API business towards higher growth and profitability and value WES Health at A$2.0/sh per share.

All in all, the long-term looks very positive for Wesfarmers and its shares.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Goldman Sachs Group and Wesfarmers. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Wesfarmers. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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