Costco 4th-Quarter Sales and Earnings Beat Estimates; Stock Slips

Costco Wholesale reported fiscal-fourth-quarter net income rose 27% on 12% higher revenue. Both figures exceeded analysts' expectations.
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Costco Wholesale  (COST) - Get Report reported fiscal-fourth-quarter net income rose 27% on 12% higher revenue, with both figures exceeding analysts' expectations. 

For the quarter ended Aug. 30 the Issaquah, Wash., membership-based retailer earned $3.13 a share compared with $2.47 a share in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue reached $53.38 billion from $47.5 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting the company to report GAAP earnings of $2.80 a share, or an adjusted $2.85, on revenue of $52.11 billion.

The company reported $281 million of pretax expense -- 47 cents a share -- related to covid-19 premium wages and sanitation costs. And Costco also took a $36 million pretax charge -- 6 cents a share -- to prepay $1.5 billion of debt.

Comparable sales for the quarter climbed 11% in the U.S., 9.1% in Canada and 16.1% internationally. 

Earlier this month, Costco reported a 101% jump in August e-commerce sales as net sales for the month rose 15% to $13.56 billion. 

For fiscal 2020, the company reported a profit of $4 billion, compared to $3.66 billion in fiscal 2019.

The company operates 795 warehouse stores, among them 552 in the U.S. and Canada and 101 in Canada.

"We believe Costco remains a best-in-class retailer, with continued reinvestment appropriate to sustain outperformance of peers," Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan said in a note earlier this month. "We anticipate the company will continue to invest in price and e-commerce to reinforce its value proposition."  

Astrachan affirmed a buy rating on Costco while raising his price target on the stock to $375 from $360. 

At last check Costco shares were trading off 2.2% at $341. They'd closed the regular Thursday trading session up 0.7% at $339.40. 

The shares had risen 18% in 2020 through the close of the Thursday regular session. They'd risen 28% since they touched a 52-week low above $271 in late February.