What One Costco Analyst Will Be Watching

Warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale beat earnings estimates despite a number of broader headwinds for the retail industry, including high gas prices and delayed tax refund checks.

"I think we're still continuing to see strong traffic despite the fact that they are doing more online," said Deborah Weinswig, an analyst at Citigroup. "And I think that's very critical because obviously there has been the big fear factor over Amazon, and I think that that has been very nail biting for everyone with the showrooming factor."

The delay in tax refund checks did not seem to hurt the retailer that much, she noted on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." Finally, traffic fared well despite high gas prices.

"Gas prices were high during the quarter," she said. "They have started to fall back, but we're obviously still seeing strong traffic despite that."

Weinswig has a "neutral" rating on the stock, with a $100 price target.

Customers shop at a Costco store.
Getty Images
Customers shop at a Costco store.

During the quarter, sales rose 8 percent while membership fees rose 15 percent.

Weinswig said she would be paying close attention to see if the company confirms its new club expansion plans for the year. The company has begun opening additional clubs in smaller markets, which typically yield higher earnings before income and taxes (EBIT) numbers for them.

"They're really on track to deliver higher EBIT numbers going forward because of their new growth strategy domestically and internationally," she added.

—By CNBC.com's Katie Little; Follow on Twitter @Katie_Little_

Additional News: Loyal Customers Help Costco Win Market Share

Additional Views: Best Buy Competition Headwinds Are Diminishing: Analyst


Citigroup Global Markets owns a position of $1 million or more in the debt securities of Costco Wholesale.