Woolworths CEO Roger Corbett will retire in September worth about $100
million after a staggeringly successful seven-year stint running the
company that is still not quite yet Australia’s biggest retailer in
sales, but is easily the title holder when it comes to almost every
other measure.

Melbourne-based NAB may have just marginally reclaimed the biggest bank
title from Sydney-based CBA, but it’s a ding dong struggle between two
similarly proportioned financial giants.

The same can’t be said in the retail sector because Sydney-based
Woolworths is today
a whopping $9.28 billion more valuable than Coles Myer, despite the
Melbourne-based company managing to ring up $60 million more in sales
for the December half.

There was a time when Coles was twice as valuable as Woolworths but
that situation has now almost completely reversed as today, Woolworths
is 1.77 times as valuable as Coles, largely because it has sales and
profit momentum and is priced to perfection by the market.

The acquisition of the Hedley Hotel Group this week might yet enable
Coles Myer to cling to its sales supremacy for the 2005-06, but then it
will definitely surrender that title as well once the Myer department
store chain is sold.

Can anyone else recall such a sales-to-value disparity for competitors in the same industry as this table demonstrates?

Company first half sales full year profit forecast market capitalisation
Woolworths $19.06 billion $950 million $21.33 billion
Coles Myer $19.12 billion $780 million $12.05 billion

Peter Fray

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