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.
In August 2009 Michael Luscombe as CEO of Woolworths announced the launch of Masters, a hardware retailing business to take on the Wesfarmers Bunning Group.
At that time Michael Luscombe stated to the financial press that Masters was expected to be profitable in two to three years.
In January 2016 Woolworths announced the cessation of the Masters business after the expenditure of in excess of two billion AUD dollars. Financial analysts expect further losses of approximately one billion AUD dollars in closing down the business.