We are raising our valuation for Costco Wholesale from $ 440 to $ 520 per share. The company reported strong results in September. Like-for-like sales rose 14.3% year-on-year, with a 14.6% increase in the US. Global traffic to Costco stores increased 7.2% yoy, including 7.4% in the US. We have a positive outlook for Costco’s business and believe that the company is able to continue to grow its market share through a broad product portfolio and competitive pricing policy. The company continues to expand its club program, which allows Costco to grow steadily through an annual membership fee. Membership customers rose to 91.3% in the US and 88.7% in Canada, an all-time high.
At the end of September, Costco released excellent financial results for its 4 fiscal quarter and full fiscal 2020 that ended on August 29. The company recorded the largest annualized profit and revenue growth since the 1990s amid strong demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. For the entire 2020 fiscal year, Costco’s net profit grew by more than 25% to $ 5.01 billion from $ 4 billion, the figure was a record for the company, the growth of profits was the most significant since 1998 fiscal year. Revenue increased 17.7% to $ 192.05 billion from $ 163.22 billion, the highest annualized growth since fiscal 1992, when it jumped 19.6%.
Despite the fact that rising inflation and disruption of supply chains after the global lockdown may put some pressure on the company’s margins in the short term, in general we have a positive view of Costco’s business in the medium term. Among the main drivers of business growth, we highlight the growth in retail space, growing cash flow from membership fees and strong sales results through digital channels.
Costco operates membership warehouses in the United States and select international locations. The company’s stores offer a one-stop shopping experience to attract customers to their stores and sign up for memberships. At the end of fiscal 2019, Costco operated 783 warehouses with 69% located in the US, 13% in Canada, 5% in Mexico, and the remaining13% of stores located in developed markets throughout Europe, Australia, and Asia. Costco also has e-commerce operations in the US, Canada, UK, Mexico, and Japan.