Costco June Sales Beat Estimates As Shoppers Go Online; Top Analyst Raises PT

Costco’s (COST) comparable sales rose 11.5% in June fueled by e-commerce revenue growth.

Analysts had estimated an advance of about 4.2% in comparable sales for the five weeks ended July 5. E-commerce sales were up almost 86% during the reported period. On a geographical breakdown comparable sales advanced 11% in the U.S., 8.4% in Canada, and 18% in other global markets.

In the 44 weeks ended July 5, the food retail chain reported net sales of $136.37 billion, an increase of 8.1% year-on-year. Costco had in recent months suffered from a sales drop as stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions have led to a traffic decline at its warehouses, while e-commerce revenue didn’t offset the trend during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares gained 1.4% to $320.65 in Thursday’s pre-market trading. The stock is currently up 7.6% year-to-date.

Following the sales data, five-star analyst Rupesh Parikh at Oppenheimer ramped up the stock’s price target to $355 (12% upside potential) from $335 and maintained a Buy rating, saying that shares have lagged since the March market lows, but that he sees the potential for a catch up trade from here.

“We are lifting our forecasts and reiterate our top pick status to reflect the stronger than expected June results,” Parikh wrote in a note to investors. “A special dividend is also increasingly likely in 2021 following the recent debt issuance.”

The analyst views Costco as both an attractive shorter-term beneficiary of money flows related to coronavirus fears and a longer-term winner, which should help drive continued outperformance.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Street has a cautiously optimistic outlook on the stock. The Moderate Buy analyst consensus is based on 8 Buy ratings versus 6 Hold ratings. The $326.64 average price target implies shares are slated to advance a modest 3.3% in the coming 12 months. (See Costco stock analysis on TipRanks).

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