NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) are down -1.19% to $118.17 as retailers posted slightly lower-than-expected sales in July as disappointing numbers from the operator of membership warehouse more than offset strength from retail chains, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Costco, which has a significant weighting in Thomson Reuters' sale index, has been a standout of late among retailers, though its sales growth has slowed somewhat. Thursday's results mark the first time in five months that Costco's sales have increased less than expected, the Journal noted.
The company reported a 5% increase in July sales, excluding gasoline, falling short of analysts' estimates for 6% growth. The company said foreign currencies had a slightly negative impact.
TheStreet Ratings team rates COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP (COST) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 4.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Food & Staples Retailing industry average. The net income increased by 3.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $459.00 million to $473.00 million.
- Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,490.00 million or 10.45% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 13.84%.
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.42, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that COST's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.57, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
- COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.63 versus $3.90 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 0.9% in earnings ($4.59 versus $4.63).
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: COST Ratings Report