Trying to time the market is never a good idea. And yet it looks like my retirement portfolio might have caught a lucky break with the most recent earnings release from PriceSmart (Nasdaq: PSMT).

A close look at the numbers shows that if you haven't bought a piece of this Costco (Nasdaq: COST) spinoff yet, it's not too late. PriceSmart would fit nicely into any portfolio as an international stock that pays a modest 1% dividend.

Crushing estimates
It's a good time to be a retailer. U.S.-based retailer Target (NYSE: TGT) recently came out with a brilliant earnings report, growing earnings per share by 10% over the same period last year. But even Target couldn't compete with PriceSmart's latest release, which revealed a 38% uptick in EPS.

The company models its membership structure off Costco, BJ's Wholesale Club (NYSE: BJ), and Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT) Sam's Club; but unlike its American counterparts, PriceSmart counts on more than just membership fees to drive earnings. Sales growth, then, plays a bigger role in the company's bottom line. That's why the company's amazing revenue growth over the past year -- 24% year on year -- is so important. The company is taking Central America and the Caribbean by storm; its next move, according to the release, will be toward South America, with the opening of a second store in Colombia.

A look at how PriceSmart has fared against analyst estimates over the past eight quarters shows consistent and significant beats.


Q3 2011

Q2 2011

Q1 2011

Q4 2010

Q3 2010

Q2 2010

Q1 2010

Q4 2009

Estimate  $0.46  $0.57  $0.44  $0.33  $0.35  $0.43  $0.34  $0.30
Actual  $0.55  $0.60  $0.50  $0.44  $0.40  $0.46  $0.35  $0.35
% Beat 20% 5% 16% 33% 14% 7% 3% 17%


Crazy organic growth
Because the company has only opened up one new store over the past year, almost all of the growth can be attributed to purely organic, same-store growth. This is good news for the company and a sign that locals, as well as expats who are retiring to warmer climates, are becoming regulars at the store.

Check out how revenue and earnings both grew in the double digits, and margins expanded by 34 basis points.


Q3 2010

Q3 2011


Revenue  $348.6  $431.1 24%
Net Income  $12.0 million  $16.3 million 36%
Profit Margin 3.44% 3.78%  

Source: PriceSmart earnings release.

Foolish takeaway
With only 28 stores currently in the Caribbean and Central America, there's still tons of room for growth, especially with all of South America ripe for the picking.  I suggest you add PriceSmart to your watchlist today.

Foolish contributor Brian Stoffel spends some of his time in Costa Rica and knows how popular PriceSmart is with the people there. He owns shares of PriceSmart and Costco. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart and Costco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart and Costco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.