NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's been said that "timing is everything," but waiting for the right buying opportunity can be expensive, especially when trying to pick a moment to jump into a high-quality stock.
Shares of Costco Wholesale (COST) are rarely cheap compared to the rest of the market, in part because the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain has a business model that insulates it from many of the risks faced by other retailers. This quality was evident when Costco delivered third-quarter profits that topped Wall Street estimates for the fourth straight quarter.
For the quarter that ended May 10, Costco, , which operates 673 warehouse stores, earned a profit of $516 million, or $1.17 per share, a penny better than analysts' consensus estimate. On a year-over-year basis, that translates to an increase of more than 9% from last year's EPS of $1.07.
Net revenue during the quarter advanced 1% to $25.52 billion, while total revenue increased just 1.1% to $26.1 billion from $25.8 billion. While the Issaquah, Wash.-based chain's revenues fell shy of average analysts' estimates of $26.63 billion, that can be attributed to the same weak retail sales in environment in April that hurt most retailers.
Because of these factors, Costco's same-store sales during the quarter slipped 1%, while same-store sales in the U.S. gained 1%. Granted, those aren't breathtaking numbers. They're certainly not what Costco is accustomed to. The fact is, consumers aren't spending as much of their so-called "gas tax credit" as the market had hope they would.