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Radhakishan Damani’s Avenue Supermarts shares (DMart) gave up initial gains on Monday to slip into negative territory, as investors reacted to Januar-March quarter results. DMart hypermarket chain reported a 52% on-year jump in net profit during the January-March quarter to Rs 414 crore, with 18% on-year revenue growth. The strong performance was helped by the low base of the previous year. Although the performance has been robust, the management has already cautioned of headwinds owing to the second wave of Covid-19. This has forced leading brokerage firms to maintain bearish views on Avenue Supermarts stock price. Currently, Avenue Supermarts share price is down 0.71%, trading at Rs 2,868 per share.
During the previous quarter, Avenue Supermarts’ gross margins recovered to 14.8%, 10 basis points above ore-covid levels. However, fresh restrictions could impact margins in the coming quarters. Further, the firm managed to add 13 stores in the quarter taking the total tally to 22 stores added in the fiscal year. Employee expenses were also lower in the quarter, aiding the financial performance of the company.
Overall in the previous fiscal year, the same store sales growth (SSSG) was -13% due to the coronavirus aided disruptions. SSSG had recovered 6% on-year in January and February before tanking in March as covid hit once again. “We believe this weakness in revenues will continue in the first quarter of this fiscal year (with possibly some spillover into 2QFY22 as well); on-year growth numbers may still look okay due to the favourable base,” analysts at Kotak Securities said.
Avenue Supermarts’ management has cautioned on near-term drag on store operations due to the second Covid wave. Additional concerns for the company emerge from the competitive landscape in the retail industry. Avenue Supermarts remains one of the top earnings compounding plays in our coverage, however, concerns over the impact of changing competitive landscape (GT/Ecomm surge + Reliance Retail/JioMart scale-up) on DMart’s earnings potential keeps us on the sidelines at current valuations,” said Axis Securities.
Cash-rich balance sheet to help tide through
Although challenges remain for Avenue Supermarts, analysts at Yes Securities believe the company’s strong balance sheet would help it tide through. “In this environment, the company’s strong cash‐rich balance sheet will not only help it tide over this difficult period but also help in accelerating its offline and online footprint expansion despite lower throughput and cash flows,” they said in a report. “We continue to like DMART for its best‐in‐class execution, lowest cost of retail, aggressive expansion plans, industry-leading asset and inventory turnover and high customer conversion and loyalty given its EDLP model, albeit we would have been happier with more and faster growth in its online presence,” they said.
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Kotak Securities have cut their revenue estimates by 6-18% for the fiscal year. They maintain their “Sell” rating with a new fair value of Rs 1,950 per share. Axis Securities has a “Reduce” rating owing to slower scale-up by the firm, with a target price of Rs 2,850 per share. Motilal Oswal has a neutral rating on the stock. Analysts at Yes Securities have an “Add” rating with a target of Rs 3,205 while those at Prabudal Lilladher a “Buy” ratings and a target price of Rs 3,360 apiece.
(The stock recommendations in this story are by the respective research and brokerage firms. Financial Express Online does not bear any responsibility for their investment advice. Please consult your investment advisor before investing.)