Now, e-commerce had always been one of the great secular growing themes of the century. The pandemic made it a lot more than that. It made it imperative. And anyone who ignored e-commerce did so at his own peril.
And that's why we've stuck by Amazon. (AMZN) - Get Report The other day, some wag entered Jimmy Chill’s Twitter universe and started talking about how Amazon's a dog. I wanted to strangle the guy. Yeah, OK, maybe even the traditional retailers are having a day in the sun. You want to buy some Nordstrom? (JWN) - Get Report Be my guest. But how long will that last?
To me, Amazon is not just e-commerce anymore. There's advertising. There's web services. There is a subscription service, Prime. Ultimately, though, if the surge really takes off like Tony Fauci says it will, we won't need a government lockdown. We're going to lock down ourselves. And who wins in a lockdown? Not my wife because she has to stack all the Amazon boxes, not me.
Now, it's amazing, it’s amazing to me that I hear so many people say that such and such a stock acts badly, so they want to sell it when they really should be thinking about buying. I mean, that's what happened yesterday. I was getting a bunch of heat on the site on Twitter about Walmart. (WMT) - Get Report What did we do? We've done the homework on Walmart. We know it's right, which is why we picked some up.
I mean, look, it's doing everything right, including contemplating a sale of some of its Flipkart Indian venture at a valuation that is about double what they paid in 2018. Not bad. I expect still one more very strong quarter from both its internet and brick-and-mortar operations. Acts badly? Bring it in.
But you know what I think will end up being the biggest e-commerce winner in 2021? This is a shocker, but I think it's going to be Costco, (COST) - Get Report which has been late to the digital party. By the way, their own admission when I went to see them last year: “We really missed that but we're not going to just rest on our laurels. We're going to be like, go, go for the gold.” Costco is 376 – don’t forget that special dividend.
You don't need a better web presence to beat the numbers if you’re Costco because you make so much off the club membership. Still, though, the stores can be tremendous e-commerce warehouses. That special dividend was terrific. Shows you the confidence in its own game plan and reward shareholders. And don't forget, they think in 2021, later in 2021, they're really going to start expanding more in China.
Look, I know it's not a cheap stock, but there are plenty of retailers with cheap stocks. Don't go near them.
Amazon, Walmart and Costco are three stocks that people often give up on during stretches like right now. And then what happens? Well, they end up paying much higher prices to get back in when they do. We've seen this phenomenon happen for two decades with ease and we preach hard against it to you.