Shares of Wumart Stores, Beijing's largest supermarket chain, rose to a record high yesterday, but analysts and fund managers could not point to a concrete reason for the gain. The stock surged 38 per cent at one point to a record intraday high of HK$15.54 and ended the day up 14.74 per cent at HK$12.92, a record close. Some analysts pointed to the celebrity effect of legendary investor Warren Buffett. Wumart was one of the stocks recommended by mainland fund manager Zhao Danyang during their lunch in June. Then there was a rumour that Wumart was in talks to buy a competitor, although the company said it had always been active in seeking acquisition targets and no agreement had been reached. It was also time for consumer stocks to catch up with the market's bull run, analysts said. The stocks had lagged since March, and more importantly, the fundamentals for the sector had improved recently, they added. Rival Lianhua Supermarket Holdings, one of the mainland's largest supermarket chain operators, closed up 6.31 per cent at HK$15.16. KPI, an operator of hypermarkets and convenience stores, gained 14.71 per cent to 39 HK cents. But other analysts said they simply smelled opportunistic trading. 'It's a bull market; nothing is impossible,' said Randy Zhou, an analyst with UBS Securities. Wumart generated 2.4 per cent growth in same-store sales in the first quarter of this year, compared with 8.1 per cent growth last year. The slower pace, despite better traffic, was due to much lower food prices compared with the first quarter of last year, when inflation was at its peak. With food price deflation set to be moderate, analysts expected sales performance to improve. In 2006, the retailer was hit by a financial scandal involving its founder, and trading in its shares was suspended for nearly a year. Zhang Wenzhong was sentenced to 18 years in jail last year after being convicted of misappropriation, bribery and fraud. He had been detained for about two years by mainland authorities after resigning as the company's chairman. He was implicated in the investigation into the activities of disgraced former Beijing deputy mayor Liu Zhihua.