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2 retail ASX shares Morgans rates as a buy now

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With interest rates now heading north, it may be worthwhile taking a look at ASX shares representing retailers Australians just can’t live without.

After all, even if the economy slows down, consumers still have to eat food, wear clothes and have a drink.

The analysts at Morgans certainly thinks so, and are currently pretty keen on two particular retailer stocks:

‘A good entry point for longer term investors’

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) owns an enviable stable of retail brands in Australia — Bunnings, Kmart, Target and Officeworks.

The share price has taken a beating just recently though, dropping more than 17% this year so far and almost 25% since August.

According to Morgans analyst Andrew Tang, this is a blessing in disguise.

“We see the recent pullback in the share price as a good entry point for longer term investors,” he said in Morgans Best Buys memo for May.

“The company is run by a highly regarded management team and the balance sheet is healthy.”

Staff shortages are admittedly a challenge for every business right now, but especially so for one of Australia’s biggest employers.

But Tang’s not worried about that in the long run.

“The core Bunnings division (>60% of group EBIT) remains a solid performer as consumers continue to invest in their homes.”

Other analysts are torn about Wesfarmers shares.

According to CMC Markets, nine out of 15 are on the fence, labelling it a hold. There are four votes each on the buy and sell sides.

The retail giant does hand out a 3.42% dividend yield, as a nice sweetener for those who take the plunge.

Are Australians drinking at home or the pub?

Endeavour Group Ltd (ASX: EDV) runs big retail brands like Dan Murphy’s and BWS.

But it also has a hospitality division, which operates a large network of pubs around Australia.

While the retail business went gangbusters during COVID-19 lockdowns, Tang admits the hotels division suffered from low patronage.

But that just gives it plenty of upside for the coming period.

“With the Australian economy now largely reopened and we move into a ‘living with COVID’ environment, this should be positive for the hotels outlook.”

Endeavour did cop a short-term blow to its stock price on Tuesday as it announced that the managing director for Dan Murphy’s had departed to return to the UK.

The share price is still up more than 12% so far this year, and a pleasing 26.4% higher than it was 12 months ago.

Much like Wesfarmers, the wider analyst community is also divided on Endeavour.

According to CMC Markets, four out of 13 rate it as a strong buy with one other supporting it as a moderate buy. Four analysts each label it as hold and sell respectively.

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