HOW TO PLAY IT
few companies empower mom-and-pop businesses as successfully as seattle’s Costco Wholesale. from customized business printing services to cash management tools such as payment and credit card processing offered via U.s. bank subsidiary elavon, the $129 billion (revenue) membership club is a master at providing products and services that free small businesses to focus on what they do best. at a recent price of $186, it is trading at 22 times 2019 earnings, significantly lower than the 28 multiple at which it has traded over the past five years. even more encouraging are analyst estimates, which have been rising steadily, as have dividends, which have increased by 12% over the past five years. Costco practically invented the idea of cultivating an ecosystem of loyal customers. it remains one of the few retailers that have the strength and business model to successfully compete with amazon.