Highlights from Zacks analyst blog: Costco, Target, Casey’s and SunOpta

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For immediate release

Chicago, IL – November 24, 2021 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured on the Analysts Blog. Every day, Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and financial markets. Recent stocks featured in the blog include: Costco Wholesale Corporation COST, Target Corporation TGT, Casey’s General Stores, Inc. CASY, and SunOpta, Inc. STKL.

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s analyst blog:

Online grocery sales continue to grow: 4 stocks to buy

E-commerce has been driving retail sales since the start of the pandemic, and one of the biggest beneficiaries has been essentials like groceries. In fact, the pandemic has finally helped people realize the benefits and ease of shopping online.

Growing customer demand over the past year has even prompted retailers to focus more and they are now strengthening their e-commerce branch. This has boosted online grocery sales over the past year. In view of this situation, actions like Costco, Target, Casey’s and SunOpta are likely to benefit.

Jump in online grocery sales

People have been more inclined to shop online since the COVID-19 outbreak in an effort to maintain social distancing and avoid contracting the virus. This has helped increase online sales of groceries almost every month.

Although millions of people are now vaccinated and physical stores have opened, people continue to shop online. According to the Brick Meets Click / Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, the U.S. online grocery market grew 1.3% in October, reaching a total of $ 8.1 billion in sales compared to $ 8 billion in September .

Pickup / delivery and door-to-door sales in dollars in October were $ 6.4 billion and $ 1.7 billion, respectively. In addition, in October, nearly 50% of total US households, or 63.8 million, shopped online. In October, an average monthly user placed an average of 2.74 orders. This is 35% more than pre-pandemic levels and only 6% less than the record reached in May 2020, when the pandemic was at its peak.

Online grocery sales set to grow

The massive vaccination campaign gave people the confidence to go out more often. However, the pandemic is far from over, forcing people to continue to depend on e-commerce for their purchases given the security aspects.

According to a new study from Acosta, the online grocery market in the United States is set to grow in the coming days. According to Acosta’s “Growth in online grocery shopping shows no signs of slowing down” report, 31% of respondents plan to increase their online shopping for groceries and food.

In addition, 64% of people who buy online will continue to do so in the coming days. Of those who shop online, 51% said they started doing so during the pandemic and would now continue to stick to online shopping.

Of those who started shopping online during the pandemic, 20% now still buy groceries online or most of the time, while 14% regularly buy groceries online.

In addition, experts believe that e-commerce is here to stay, as grocery players quickly focus on e-commerce. Groceries are a necessity and people will continue to buy them.

Our choices

Given this situation, investing in grocery stocks with a strong online presence should generate solid returns going forward. We have selected four of these stocks, each currently carrying a Zacks # 1 (strong buy) or # 2 (buy) rank. You can see The full list of today’s Zacks # 1 Rank stocks here.

Casey’s General Stores offers a variety of foods (including freshly prepared foods such as pizza, donuts and sandwiches), beverages, tobacco and nicotine products, health and beauty products, school supplies, household items and pet supplies. CASY operates two stores under the name “Tabac City”, selling mainly tobacco and nicotine products, a liquor store and a grocery store.

Casey’s expected profit growth rate for the current year is 3.6%. Zacks’ consensus estimate for current year earnings has improved 1.8% in the past 60 days. CASY stock has gained 4.2% over the past 30 days. Casey’s General Stores has a Zacks Rank # 2.

Wholesale Costco sells high volumes of food and general merchandise (including household products and appliances) at reduced prices in member warehouses. Costco is one of the largest warehouse club operators in the United States. COST also operates e-commerce websites in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.

Costco Wholesale’s expected profit growth rate for the current year is 9.7%. Zacks’ consensus estimate for current year earnings has improved 5% in the past 60 days. COST share has gained 12% in the last 30 days. Costco Wholesale has a Zacks # 2 rank.

Target has grown from a simple brick and mortar retailer to an omnichannel entity. TGT has invested in technology, improved websites and mobile applications, and modernized the supply chain to keep pace with the changing retail landscape and better compete with pure e-commerce players.

Target reported adjusted earnings of $ 3.03 per share in the third quarter of fiscal 2021, beating Zacks’ consensus estimate of $ 2.87 and up 8.7% from a year ago . TGT’s total revenue for the quarter was $ 25,652 million, increasing 13.3% year-over-year and beating Zacks’ consensus estimate of $ 24,906 million.

Target’s expected profit growth rate for the current year is 39.6%. Zacks’ consensus estimate for current year earnings has improved 2.6% in the past 60 days. Shares of TGT have risen 8.7% in the past six months. The target has a Zacks Rank # 2.

SunOpta is an operator of high growth ethical companies, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food, supplements and health and beauty markets. STKL has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, specializing in the sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed to packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, producer, distributor and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess group, which designs and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, biofuels and food processing industries.

SunOpta’s expected profit growth rate for the current year is over 100%. Zacks’ consensus estimate for current year earnings for STKL has improved 25% over the past 60 days. SunOpta has a Zacks Rank # 2.

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Target Corporation (TGT): Free shares analysis report

Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Inventory Analysis Report

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Casey’s General Stores, Inc. (CASY): Free Inventory Analysis Report

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