Amazon announced a 20-for-1 stock split in March, marking the first time the commerce giant split its stock since 1999. Similarly, Shopify announced a 10-for-1 stock split in April, and Tesla received shareholder approval for a 3-for-1 stock split earlier this month. Some investors see those events as bullish indicators, simply because forward stock splits are only necessary after major share price appreciation.
With that in mind, MercadoLibre (MELI -0.06%) and Costco Wholesale (COST 0.23%) have seen their share prices soar 326% and 246% over the past five years, respectively, and either company could reasonably split its stock in the near term.
Is it time to buy?
MercadoLibre operates the largest online commerce and payments ecosystem in Latin America. Its marketplace sees more unique visitors and page views than any other retailer in the region, creating a powerful network effect. Merchants tend to gravitate toward the most popular platform because that allows them to reach more consumers. In doing so, those merchants bring more inventory to the marketplace, further incentivizing consumer engagement.
MercadoLibre has reinforced its leadership position with a number of adjacent services, including solutions for logistics, financing, and digital advertising. Additionally, its fintech platform, Mercado Pago, is still gaining traction with off-platform merchants at a rapid clip, expanding MercadoLibre’s ability to monetize commerce beyond its marketplace. In fact, off-platform payment volume represented 70% of total payment volume (TPV) in the most recent quarter, up from 58% in the same quarter last year.
MercadoLibre’s strong market position is translating into solid financial results. Over the past year, revenue skyrocketed 60% to $8.8 billion, and the company posted a GAAP profit of $4.73 per diluted share, up from a loss of $0.05 per diluted share in the previous year.
Going forward, MercadoLibre has plenty of room to grow its business. E-commerce sales across all relevant geographies in Latin America will reach $157 billion this year, and digital payments volume will hit $258 billion, according to Statista. For comparison, MercadoLibre achieved a gross merchandise volume of $28 billion in 2021, and TPV hit $77 billion.
With that in mind, this growth stock looks like a smart long-term investment whether or not the company executes a stock split in the near term.
2. Costco Wholesale
Costco operates 829 warehouse stores around the world, the majority of which are located in North America. The company employs a membership-based business model, offering shoppers a wide variety of products, from food and sundries to fuel and pharmaceuticals.
Costco benefits from several competitive advantages. First, the company carefully evaluates inventory based on quality, price, and brand, and it carries just 4,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) on the shelves compared to the 30,000 SKUs found at most supermarkets. That gives Costco buying power because suppliers compete for shelf space, which allows the company to pass savings on to shoppers.
Additionally, Costco develops products internally through its private label Kirkland Signature, and that vertical integration allows the company to undercut the price of branded alternatives by up to 20%, while still earning higher margins, according to CNN. In short, Kirkland Signature products improve profitability for Costco and drive loyalty among consumers.
Despite a difficult macroeconomic environment, Costco has delivered strong financial results over the past year. Annual revenue climbed 17% to $217.5 billion, and earnings rose 19% to $12.70 per diluted share.
Going forward, shareholders should look for that momentum to continue. Global retail sales are expected to grow at roughly 5% per year through 2025, but Costco’s strong market position — it ranks as the fifth largest retailer in the world — should allow the company to outpace the industry average. With that in mind, whether or not a stock split is in the cards, investors should consider buying a few shares of Costco stock.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Trevor Jennewine has positions in Amazon, MercadoLibre, Shopify, and Tesla. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Costco Wholesale, MercadoLibre, Shopify, and Tesla. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2023 $1,140 calls on Shopify and short January 2023 $1,160 calls on Shopify. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.