Luscombe began working for Woolworths in 1978 as a graduate trainee in the company's store at Mt. Buller in Victoria. He progressed through the company gradually, and became Victorian operations manager in 1990. In 1991, he became national manager for banking at ANZ. In 2004, he was appointed director of supermarkets and oversaw the company's takeover of more than 150 new stores.
In October 2006, Luscombe was announced as the new CEO of Woolworths Ltd.
Luscombe has faced pressure from Australia's consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, over its practice of using planning laws to object to the construction of supermarkets by its competitors.
On 4 April 2011, Michael Luscombe announced that he would be retiring as CEO of Woolworths Ltd in October.