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Costco Analyst Breaks Down Q2, Says Coronavirus Impact 'Too Unpredictable'

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) attributed around 300 basis points of February same-store sales to customers stocking up on items as the coronavirus spreads.

Benzinga · 03/06/2020 17:08

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) attributed around 300 basis points of February same-store sales to customers stocking up on items as the coronavirus spreads.

But the situation remains "too unpredictable," and few analysts are making any assumptions moving forward, Bank of America analyst Robby Ohmes said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Costco's 'Consistent' Beats 

Costco did report a top-and-bottom-line beat in its fiscal second-quarter report, which is "very consistent as usual" for the company, Ohmes said.

Costco also showed an EBITDA margin in the "low-four range," which is also par for the course whether gross margins are up or down, the analyst said. 

Costco mostly finds ways to offset weaker gross margin quarters with better leverage over SG&A, which was exactly what occurred in the reported quarter, he said. 

Breaking Down Costco's Q2

Excluding the added benefit to same-store sales in February from coronavirus concerns, Costco would have still reported strong metrics, Ohmes said. This is due to Costco's continued emphasis on making sure customers understand the value of their membership, the analyst said. 

Costco's return on invested capital is standing at an all-time high at 25%, and its free cash flow generation is impressive, he said.

Overall, the momentum in Costco's business is strong and everything management is doing is "working incredibly well," Ohmes said. 

What's Next For Costco 

Looking forward, Costco remains well-positioned to take advantage of demographic shifts as millenials move into their home-buying years, the BofA analyst told CNBC. 

The stock was down 1.66% at $310.52 at the time of publication Friday. 

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