Priceline.com (PCLN) and its “Negotiator” William Shatner continue to win over investors and consumers alike. Shares are up about 45% year-to-date and up about 1,500% from the October 2008 lows to current prices above $900 a share.
Why the big growth even amid relatively troubled economic times? Well, because online travel has become the norm as bookings for hotels and flights moves increasingly to the Internet as travel agents get cut out of the picture — and that, coupled with consumers’ desire to shop around for deals, has made Priceline indispensable.
And don’t think that the Great Recession has meant growth has been hard to come by. Thanks to aggressive international expansion that now covers over 180 countries and territories, Priceline managed to improve revenues from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012 at an average annual rate of 40%, while earnings grew at a 60% rate!
That’s a heck of a performance for a tech company that is more than a decade old — a lifetime in Silicon Valley, and a period that has seen no shortage of imitators across the online travel space from Expedia (EXPE) to upstarts like Hipmunk. But Priceline continues to command a huge share of the pie … and the pie itself seems to keep growing.
That’s a bullish sign for investors, even if PCLN has already seen exponential growth during the past few years.
Priceline.com reports earnings Aug. 6.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter via@JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.