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After Hours: Costco Comps Climb, Walgreens Raises Dividend

Eric Volkman, The Motley Fool

Talk about a hard act to follow.

With the S&P 500 touching the 3,000 mark for the first time in its history today, the after-hours scene feels somewhat sedate. Yet even though the evening hours can't match what ended up being a memorable trading day, we do have a few market shakers and bakers, especially in the retail industry. To wit:

A Costco storefront.

Image source: Costco Wholesale.

Costco's hot June

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST) released its latest set of monthly sales figures late in the afternoon today. 

Costco's net sales came in at just under $14.6 billion for its "retail month" of June, which actually ended on July 7. That total was nearly 8% higher than that of retail June 2018 and 25% above the May 2019 retail month.

The big retailer's crucial comparable-store sales growth figure was 5.4% in the June retail month, well above May's 4.2%. When adjusted for certain factors such as gasoline prices and foreign exchange, Costco's June "comps" were 5.1%.

The company pointed to Taiwan, Mexico, and Japan as particularly well-performing markets during the period. In terms of product categories, Costco said apparel and housewares, among others, did well in the June retail month.

Aided to no small degree by a still-thriving economy and a solid position in the discount warehouse retail niche, Costco has been posting encouraging growth numbers like this for some time. Barring a sudden economic catastrophe, it should continue to do so.

Perhaps that business-as-usual result, although encouraging, isn't moving the stock much in after-hours trading. It's down a few cents from its day closing price.

Walgreens raises dividend by 4%

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) is raising its quarterly dividend by 4%, the company announced after market close today. Walgreens' board of directors declared that its upcoming payout would be just under $0.46 per share.

Walgreens did not give a specific reason or reasons for the increase. It habitually increases its distribution every year, to the point where it is a Dividend Aristocrat -- one of the few S&P 500 stocks that has enhanced its payout every year for at least 25 years running. With this raise, Walgreens extends its streak to 44 years, stretching back well before U.K.-based Boots acquired the company and changed its name.

Walgreens' new dividend will be paid on Sept. 12 to stockholders of record as of Aug. 20.

The company hasn't been an investor favorite lately. Although its most recent set of quarterly results was encouraging, there are concerns that Walgreens hasn't sufficiently modified its old-school corner-pharmacy business model in the face of digital retail developments. It's quite possible that recent gains in revenue won't be repeated.

Walgreens' price stock is unchanged in post-market trading tonight.

Bed Bath & Beyond Q1 impaired by impairment charge

Elsewhere in the retail sector, housewares specialist Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) unveiled the first set of quarterly results from its fiscal 2019 after the market closed.

This could not have been easy. For its Q1, the company said, its net sales fell to $2.57 billion, from $2.75 billion in the same quarter last year. On the bottom line, it rather dramatically flipped to a loss of $371 million from a Q1 2018 profit of almost $44 million.

That profitability figure, however, was very negatively affected by what the company described as "goodwill and tradename impairments," which were also a factor in its Q4 2018 results. Backing out those costs, plus smaller one-offs, Bed Bath & Beyond's Q1 landed in the black at just over $15 million ($0.12), against $51 million for Q1 2018.

The latest revenue figure broadly met analyst expectations, while the per-share earnings result topped them. On average, those prognosticators were modeling only $0.08 in adjusted per-share profit.

As with Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond is operating a fairly creaky business model still quite dependent on brick-and-mortar stores. It's too early to determine whether a recent change in top-level management -- due no doubt to pressure from disgruntled activist investors -- will help push the company forward.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares are down by 2% in after-hours action just now.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.