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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Sprouts Farmers Market, Best Buy, Kroger, Walmart and Costco Wholesale

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 20, 2020 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. SFM, Best Buy Co., Inc. BBY, The Kroger Co. KR, Walmart Inc. WMT and Costco Wholesale Corp. COST.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Stocks Offering Curbside Pickup Amid Lockdown

The novel coronavirus has put countries under lockdown and with the infection still spreading and fatalities increasing, people have been directed to follow strict social distancing measures. However, shopping for essentials is necessary. Online delivery has been playing a major part ever since most of the country implemented strict stay-at-home measures.

Nevertheless, due to a surge in orders, retailers have been struggling to meet demand and in many cases, it’s leading to delays. Now to ease the delivery system many retailers are offering the option of curbside pickup.

What is Curbside Pickup?

Though the process might not be similar for all retailers, curbside-pickup service involves customers ordering online but picking up delivery from their convenient store at a specified time. So like online delivery, a customer needs to fill their cart online, make the payment and then go to the store and pickup the delivery without much interaction or contact.

Curbside Pickup Helps Reduce COVID-19 Risks

As said earlier, surge in demand and limited staff availability have made it difficult for stores to offer delivery services. On Apr 8, guidance from the Department of Public Health directed that grocery stores, except those with a maximum occupancy of less than 25 people have to limit occupancy at 40% of the maximum, including both shoppers and staff.

Curbside pickup can solve the problem. People will no longer have to wait for the deliveries to reach them and also avoid standing in queues. On Apr 15, 42 state lawmakers wrote to governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, asking him to impose an order to limit occupancy at grocery stores. They also suggested curbside pickup be available at grocery stores that already offer online ordering and delivery. This would encourage other grocers to offer the service.

Curbside pickup is not a new practice. Many retailers like Wegmans offers curbside pickup via Instacart but due to surge in demand, orders are taking longer to be delivered. In fact, food giants like Pizza Hut has started contactless curbside pickup at many of its restaurants. Customers wanting contactless curbside checkout can simply check the box at checkout on the website/application, or ask store personnel over the phone. Alongside, customers can provide details of pickup vehicle and pre-pay using online transfer.

5 Stocks Set to Rally

With coronavirus rampaging the global economy and governments forced to impose lockdown and social distancing, people are buying goods online to avoid getting infected. Now, with the option of curbside pickup people can have essentials from their nearest stores, wait less compared to online delivery and stay safe. Here are five retailers who offer curbside delivery and are poised to grow.

Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. provides fresh, natural, and organic food products in the United States. On Apr 16, the company announced that it will be taking the curbside pickup service nationwide to all 340 stores by early May. The company that belongs to the Zacks Food - Natural Foods Products industry has an expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 4.8%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 15.9% upward over the past 60 days. Sprouts Farmers Market sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Best Buy Co., Inc., a retailer of technology products, services, and solutions,offers contactless curbside pickup at most locations through its website and application.The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 4.1% against the Zacks Retail - Consumer Electronics industry’s projected earnings decline of 8.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 1.1% upward over the past 60 days. Best Buy carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

The Kroger Co.operates supermarkets, multi-department stores, marketplace stores, and price impact warehouse stores.To use curbside pickup, customers shop and place their grocery order at Kroger.com after selecting their preferred store location. Customers can select from 2000 of Kroger’s stores.Recently, the company allowed payment through EBT card.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 9.6% compared with the Zacks Retail - Supermarkets industry’s projected earnings growth of 1.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised nearly 3% upward over the past 60 days. The Kroger carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Retail chain, Walmart Inc. has reserved an hour daily to cater to curbside pickup orders for people deemed most at-risk of coronavirus infection. The giant has launched a pickup hour from 7 to 8 a.m. every day at select pickup store locations for customers over the age of 60, first responders, customers with disabilities and people in high-risk groups as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 3.7% compared with the Zacks Retail - Supermarkets industry’s projected earnings growth of 1.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 0.2% upward over the past 30 days. Walmart carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Lastly, we have Costco Wholesale Corp. that operates membership warehouses. The company has not only limited the number of people to enter its warehouse clubs as part of its response to coronavirus but has also initiated curbside pickup service.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 7.2% against the Zacks Retail - Discount Stores industry’s projected earnings decline of 12.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 1.5% upward over the past 60 days. Costco  carries a Zacks Rank #3.

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