Woolworths plans changes to Dan Murphy’s and its shares are rallying

Artist Scott Marsh paints a mural of NSW Premier Mike Baird holding a kebab and glass of wine surrounded by poker chips, a comment on the Sydney lockout laws. Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

Woolworths shares jumped after the struggling supermarket group restructured its growing Woolworths Liquor Group under a new name.

A short time ago, Woolowrths shares were up 3.8% to $22.07.

The retailer is putting its drinks business, including Dan Murphy’s and BWS, under the name Endeavour Drinks Group.

The Australian Financial Review says Woolworths told suppliers and partners today about the change which takes effect in June.

The brands Dan Murphy’s, BWS, The Wine Quarter, Pinnacle Drinks and Chinese distribution business Summergate will operate under Endeavour Drinks Group.

While supermarket sales are flat at Woolworths, the liquor shops are doing well. Sales increased 4.9% to $4.4 billion for the half year and monthly sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time in December.

“The name change confirms our business’s commitment to growth and our drive to become the world’s best and most responsible drinks retailer,” says Martin Smith, managing director of Endeavour Drinks Group.

“We landed on Endeavour as we believe it reflects our attitude and desire to always be looking for great opportunities. It’s about the strength of our commitment to keep discovering.”

The trend in like-for-like sales growth at its core Australian food and liquor business has been negative for the past three quarters and Woolworths doesn’t expect a significant improvement in the second half of this financial year.

Woolworths in February posted a loss of $972.7 million in the first half of the financial year, its first for more than 20 years, driven by a massive $1.9 billion write down in the value of the troubled Masters hardware business.