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Costco's (COST) Stellar Sales & Comps Run Continue in March

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Costco Wholesale Corporation COST has time and again proved its mettle. The company has weathered multiple market gyrations and still delivered returns to investors. Strategic investments, a customer-centric approach, merchandise initiatives and emphasis on memberships have been the discount retailer’s primary strengths. These have helped post consistent sales growth.

Solid Sales Run

Costco’s growth strategies, better price management, decent membership trends and increasing penetration of e-commerce business have been contributing to its upbeat performance. Cumulatively, these factors have been aiding this Issaquah, WA-based company in registering impressive sales numbers.

Costco’s net sales increased 18.7% to $21.61 billion for the retail month of March, the five-week period ended Apr 3, 2022, from $18.21 billion in the last year. This followed an increase of 15.9% in February and 15.5% in January.

Management informed that March 2022 retail month had one additional shopping day compared with the last year due to the calendar shift of Easter. This favorably impacted total and comparable sales by approximately one and one-half to two percent.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


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Impressive Comparable Sales Trend

Comparable sales for the retail month of March jumped 17.2%. This followed increases of 14% and 14.2% in February and January, respectively. Comparable sales for March reflect an improvement of 19.1%, 15.7% and 8.4% in the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively.

Excluding the impacts of changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange, comparable sales for the month under discussion rose 12.2% on improvements of 12.7%, 12.2% and 10.1% in the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively.

E-Commerce on the Rise

Costco has been rapidly adopting the omni-channel mantra in a bid to provide a seamless shopping experience, both online and at stores. The company has been gradually expanding its e-commerce capabilities in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.

We note that comparable e-commerce sales rose 8.9% in March. This followed increases of 10.2% and 9% in February and January, respectively. Costco Logistics has bolstered e-commerce capabilities and facilitated the selling of “big and bulky” items.

Bottom Line

Costco continues to be one of the dominant warehouse retailers based on the expanse and quality of merchandise offered. It is focused on ramping up investments in the wake of rising competition. We believe that the company’s business model, as well as a commitment toward opening membership warehouses, and providing convenient and affordable ways to shop, will continue to drive traffic and, in turn, revenues.

Impressively, Costco has outpaced both the Retail - Discount Stores industry and the Retail-Wholesale sector in the past year. We note that shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have appreciated 61.9% in the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 17.2%. Meanwhile, the sector has declined 17.3%.

3 More Stocks Looking Red Hot

Here we highlight three other top-ranked stocks, namely, Kroger KR, Target TGT and Tractor Supply Company TSCO.

Kroger, the renowned grocery retailer, sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. The company has an expected EPS growth rate of 9.9% for three-five years. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kroger’s current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 2.4% and 2.5%, respectively, from the year-ago reported number. KR has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 22.1%, on average.

General merchandise retailer Target currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. TGT has an expected EPS growth rate of 16.5% for three-five years.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Target’s current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 3.5% and 6.7%, respectively, from the corresponding year-ago period’s levels. TGT has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 21.3%, on average.

Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, carries a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. TSCO has an expected EPS growth rate of 9.8% for three-five years.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Tractor Supply Company’s current financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 8.1% and 8.9%, respectively, from the corresponding year-ago period’s actuals. TSCO has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 22%, on average.


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