Costco Wholesale Corporation COST looks quite disciplined in its approach of tackling prevailing headwinds in the retail landscape — stiff competition from online retailers and aggressive pricing strategy. Despite the ultra-competitive retail scenario, shares of this Issaquah, WA-based company have surged 26.2% so far in the year, comfortably outpacing the industry’s rally of 22.5%. The company’s shares have also outperformed the Retail-Wholesale sector that advanced 14.8% during the aforementioned period.
In the changing landscape, Costco has been able to create a niche for itself on the back of growth strategies, better price management, strong membership trends and increasing penetration of e-commerce business. Moreover, favorable job scenario, rising wages and improved consumer sentiment are other important factors. In fact, these factors collectively have aided the company in sustaining impressive comparable sales (comps) run.
Notably, comps for the month of May rose 4.2%, following an increase of 5.4% in April, 5.7% in March, 3.5% in February and 5.2% in January. Meanwhile, net sales improved 5.9% in May, following an increase of 7.3%, 7.4%, 5% and 8% in April, March, February and January, respectively.
Costco is focused on ramping up investments in the wake of rising competition from the likes of Dollar Tree DLTR, Dollar General DG and Target TGT. We believe that the company’s business model and commitment toward opening membership warehouses will continue to drive traffic.
Moreover, with the wave of digital transformation hitting the sector, Costco is fast adopting the omni-channel mantra to provide a seamless shopping experience, whether online or in-stores. It is steadily expanding e-commerce capabilities in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea and Taiwan. E-commerce comparable sales surged 20.2% in the month of May 2019, following an increase of 23.6%, 20.6%, 24.2% and 22.1%, in the months of April, March, February and January, respectively.
Costco continues to be one of the dominant warehouse retailers based on the breadth and quality of merchandise offered. In fact, its strategy of selling products at heavily discounted prices has helped it to remain on growth track. Additionally, a differentiated product range enables the company to provide an upscale shopping experience for its members.
Definitely, Costco’s stellar comps run is shaping the stock’s bullish course on the bourses. Currently, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is trading close to its 52-week high of $259.62, and there are valid reasons to believe that Costco with long-term earnings growth rate of 8.9% could scale new highs. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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