Buy Costco (COST) Stock Before Earnings, After Kroger's Beat?

Kroger KR saw its stock price jump over 3% after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings results Thursday morning. But does Kroger’s strong quarter, along with solid results from the likes of Walmart WMT and others mean investors should consider buying Costco COST stock ahead of its quarterly earnings results?


Kroger saw its adjusted quarterly earnings jump 9.1% to reach $0.48 per share. This topped our Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.43 per share, which would have marked a small year over year decline. The grocery giant’s quarterly revenues also topped our estimate despite dipping 0.3% to hit $27.67 billion.

Kroger investors were likely pleased that its digital sales surged over 60%. The company, spurred by an Amazon AMZN inspired business environment, has rolled out delivery offerings along with online ordering and curbside pickup. The company also recently partnered with Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA to sell some of its goods—which include its Home Chef meal kits—at select Walgreens locations. Plus, Kroger partnered with Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba BABA to sell some of its brands in China.

Kroger’s latest moves help it compete and keep up withTarget TGT, Walmart, and Costco.

COST Overview

Right off the bat investors should note that Costco stock has outpaced TGT, KR, and WMT over the last year. Shares of COST have also topped its rivals and blown away the S&P 500 over the last 24 months.

Similar to its peers, the discount grocery and retail behemoth currently offers free two-day delivery for non-perishable food and household supplies to customers nationwide on orders of $75 or more—with a fee added onto smaller orders. The company also expanded its same-day delivery service to “most metropolitan” areas through an updated partnership with Instacart.



Outlook & Earnings Revisions

Costco, like some other retailers and businesses, reports its monthly sales throughout the year. Therefore, there are fewer surprises when it comes to projecting its overall top-line expansion. In fact, Costco just released on Thursday its sales results for the first 12 weeks of its current fiscal year. The company’s net sales jumped 10.3% to $34.31 billion, with e-commerce sales up 32.3%. Better yet, Costco’s November e-commerce sales surged 46%.

Meanwhile, our current Zacks Consensus Estimate calls for Costco’s quarterly revenues to jump roughly 8.6% to $34.53 billion, which includes the positive impact of membership fees. We should note, however, that this estimate could change since the company just officially reported its quarterly net sales results.

At the other end of the income statement, Costco’s adjusted quarterly earnings are expected to surge 19.1% to hit $1.62 per share. We can also see that the retailer’s earnings estimate revision activity has trended more heavily in the right direction recently for both the quarter and its current fiscal year.


Bottom Line

Costco is currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) based, in part, on its recent positive earnings estimate revisions. Plus, the company sports an “A” grade for Growth in our Style Scores system. Costco’s current valuation picture is also hardly stretched despite its positive movement, with COST trading at 28.8X forward 12-month Zacks Consensus EPS estimates—which is not too far above its five-year median of 26.2X. Let’s also not forget that Costco is a dividend payer.

With all that said, Costco stock might be worth considering before the company reports its quarterly financial results after the closing bell on Thursday, December 13. 

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