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Costco Wholesale (COST) Dividend Stock Analysis

by | Dividend Contenders

Costco Logo

Costco Wholesale Dividend

(updated 2/23/2018)

The Costco Wholesale dividend has been paid since 2004 and increased for 14 consecutive years; qualifying the company as a Dividend Contender.

Price: $189.50
Dividend Yield: 1.1%

Current Dividend: $2.00
Cash Flow From Operations (CFO) Per Share (ttm): $13.47
Free Cash Flow Per Share (ttm): $7.45

Market Capitalization: $83 B
Enterprise Value $82 B

Special Dividends Paid: $7.00 Payable 5/26/17
$7.00 (12/18/12)      $5.00 (2/09/15)

Dividend Analyzer Checklist

(updated December 2017)

Dividend Safety Score (21/33 points)

Dividend Payout Ratio (ttm):  134%
Cash Dividend Payout Ratio (ttm): 92%  (4/12 points)
Net Financial Debt: $-407 M
Total Assets: $39380 M
Net Financial Debt / Total Assets:  -1%  (11/12 points)
Net Financial Debt to EBITDA (ttm):  94%
Piotroski Score (1-9) (TTM): (6/9 points)

Profitability Score (22/33 points)

Operating Earnings Yield (ttm): 5.0% (6/15 points)
Net Income (ttm): $2679 M
Gross Profit (ttm): $17140 M
Total Assets: $39380 M
Gross Profitability Ratio = GP / Total Assets: 44% (16/18 points)
Cash Return On Invested Capital (CROIC)(tttm):  25%
Return on Invested Capital (ROIC): 16%

Valuation Score (16/34 points)

Free Cash Flow Yield (ttm): 5.1% (11/17 points)
EV to EBIT (ttm): 19.8
EV to EBITDA (ttm): 15.8  (5/17 points)
Price to Sales Ratio (ttm): 0.6
Price to Book Value (ttm): 7.5
Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E) (ttm): 30
PE 10:  46

TOTAL POINTS – (59/100) (50 is an average score)

Earnings Report: 12/14/17
Next Earnings Report: 3/02/18

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Rankings & Recommendations

(updated December 2017)

Costco Wholesale (COST) is ranked #81 (out of 373) overall and #10 (out of 42) in the Consumer Defensive sector by the Dividend Analyzer.

COST is a great company with a profitable business model, a good balance sheet, and valuable assets. The company is facing stiff competition and growth may be slowing. The low dividend and current retail environment make this a sub-par choice except in the largest of portfolios.

Type of Investor / Recommendation

Large Diversified Dividend Portfolios / Can Be Considered
Looking For Exposure to Consumer Defensive  Sector / Avoid
Deep Value Investors / Avoid

Position Disclosures:
DVB Portfolio Stocks – None
AAAMP Global Value Portfolio – None
AAAMP Retirement Growth & Income Portfolio – None
AAAMP Treasure Trove Twelve Portfolio – None

Company Description

Sector: Consumer Defensive
Industry: Discount Stores

Costco Wholesale operates no-frills membership warehouses with wholesale prices in approximately 500 U.S. locations and another 200 around the globe. The company owns nearly 80% of the buildings and lands stores are located on!

The company has an exceptionally unique business model in which the majority of profits are derived from membership fees. Stores are run with maximum efficiency by limiting the number of SKU’s (stock keeping units), purchasing directly from manufacturers, limiting store hours (70/week), and keeping operating costs at a bare minimum.

Costco Warehouse Stores offer members wholesale prices on nationally branded products and private label products including groceries, fuel, appliances, television and media, automotive supplies, sporting goods, jewelry, apparel, furniture, office supplies, office equipment, and more.

SWOT Analysis


The membership warehouse club business model allows Costco to concentrate on providing its members prices lower than any of their competitors. The fee model provides a stable base of revenue that goes straight to the bottom line. This is a win-win for Costco members and the company.

Selling a limited number of rapid turning products in bulk quantities allows the company to operate at maximum efficiency. This concentrated approach gives Costco the same kind of purchasing power that its larger competitors enjoy.


Historical revenue and earnings growth is probably unsustainable. Finding viable urban locations for large warehouse stores is challenging to say the least. Opening new stores in currently served markets may lead to cannibalization of sales and not really provide the new membership levels needed to drive future growth. In addition, competition from modern concepts such as Amazon keep margins at ultra thin levels.


The membership model and low margin environment means efficiency is the name of the game. Efficiency is a five-star attribute of Costco. An astounding $1100 per square foot of sales (vs. $400 for a typical Wal-Mart) provides Costco the opportunity to expand, keep prices low, deliver a great member experience, and continue to build it’s membership revenue.


A larger portion of sales coming from international markets may bring added risks to company revenues and profits. If membership attrition rates were to increase (86% renew now) it could have a serious adverse affect on profits and growth rates.

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Disclaimer: While Arbor Investment Planner has used reasonable efforts to obtain information from reliable sources, we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of third-party information presented herein. The sole purpose of this analysis is information. Nothing presented herein is, or is intended to constitute investment advice. Consult your financial advisor before making investment decisions.
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