Costco Thrives by Mastering Traditional Retailing. Now It’s Challenging Amazon.

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Illustration by Elias Stein

Costco Wholesale is challenging by keeping things simple: limited selection, low prices, good execution. With just 7% of its sales online, it’s the anti-Amazon.

Costco shares have risen 3% so far in April to $590. The stock is up 63% in the past 12 months, while Amazon is off 9%. Costco trades for 46 times projected earnings of $13 a share in its fiscal year ending in August and for 42 times in 2023. That’s the highest price/earnings ratio for a major traditional retailer and just under Amazon’s 2023 P/E of 43.