On Wednesday morning we’ll get to see earnings out of upscale warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST). The estimates from First Call are $0.65 EPS on $16.3 Billion in revenues. Next quarter estimates are $1.01 EPS and $22.44 Billion in revenues. Costco is not on a typical retail fiscal year as its next quarter August is the fiscal year, and estimates are $2.99 EPS on $71.44 Billion in revenues.
In case the company gives any estimates for next year, First Call has fiscal August 2009 at $3.43 EPS and $77.87. This represents an expectation for growth next year of about 14.5% on earnings per share and about 9% revenue growth.
As far as valuations at a $73.00 share price with a $31.6 Billion market cap, this gives this fiscal year estimated valuations as 24.4 P/E ratio and 0.44-times revenues. For 2009 the forward valuation numbers are 21.3 P/E and 0.4-times revenues.
There is a huge dilemma in Costco shares currently. While this is somewhat opinionated as this is a personal favorite store, Costco has the best reputation and the highest net worth as far as its customer base among all warehouse or big-box sellers out there in the majors. But its valuation is also far richer than peers and is seemingly a bit elevated. Shares are actually only up about 5% for 2008 so far, but shares are up about 33% from its 52-week lows of $54.85 (year high is $75.23).
Analysts also have an average price target of roughly $70.00, which is under the current share price. Unless Costco is able to pull out a feather from its hat with a magic surprise and significant raise of estimates, it’s probably time for a breather.
Jon C. Ogg
May 28, 2008