Retail

Amazing Comparable Sales Aren't Enough to Move the Needle for Costco

When Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported its fiscal first-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Thursday, the retailer said that it had $2.62 in earnings per share (EPS) and $43.21 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates had called for $2.05 in EPS and $42.41 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had $1.90 in EPS and $37.04 billion in revenue

Net sales for the first quarter increased by 16.9% to $42.35 billion, up from $36.24 billion last year. Membership fees increased 7.1% year over year to $861 million, up from $804 million

Comparable sales for the quarter increased by 17.1% (adjusted) year over year. This consisted of comparable sales from the U.S. of 17.0%, Canada of 16.8% and Other International of 17.7%. E-commerce comparable sales increased by 86.2% year over year.

Last year’s first quarter included an impact of $77 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, tax benefit related to stock-based compensation. This year’s results reflect an expense for COVID-19 premium wages of $212 million pretax, or $0.35 per diluted share.

On the books, Costco’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $14.42 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $13.31 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

The company did not issue any guidance in the report. However, analysts are calling for $2.36 in EPS and $42.67 billion in revenue for the fiscal second quarter.

Costco stock closed Thursday at $372.79, in a 52-week range of $271.28 to $393.15. The consensus price target is $383.87. Following the announcement, the stock was relatively flat at $374.00 in early trading indications Friday.