Target Shares Drop 7.6% on Comp Sales Miss

Same-store sales gained 1.2% in Q1, missing analysts' estimates, and Target is expecting growth to be flat or lower in coming months.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 18, 2016

Target shares took a beating Wednesday after the retailer reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and forecast flat to lower sales in coming months.

Target’s same-store sales, a key retail metric, gained 1.2% in the first quarter, missing analysts ‘ estimates of 1.6% growth. For the second quarter, the company is expecting comparable sales to be flat to down 2%, and adjusted earnings per share of $1 to $1.20, well below the $1.36 analysts have projected.

“We are pleased with our first quarter financial results, which demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy in an increasingly volatile consumer environment,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a news release.

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He noted that comparable sales in Target’s signature categories grew more than three times the company average and digital comps grew 23%.

But the stock fell as much as 9% to $66.98 in trading Wednesday, the biggest intraday decline since December 2008. It closed at $67.99, down 7.6%.

“Target is now the latest prominent retailer to disappoint investors,” CNN Money said, noting that Macy’s, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, and Nordstrom have also reported underwhelming results recently amid sluggish consumer demand.

Forbes said Target “is suffering from the same malaise affecting companies like Best Buy: weakness in electronics. It’s now clear that tablet sales have slowed tremendously, and phone sales are also a drag on the category. Even though wearables are on the rise, they’re not making up for that loss.”

Explaining the second-quarter guidance, Target officials said they noticed sales starting to slow after Easter in late March, reflecting in part a colder and wetter spring on the East Coast.

For the first quarter, the company earned $632 million, down slightly from $635 million a year ago. Revenue fell 5.4% to $16.2 billion.

Ivan Feinseth, an analyst with Tigress Financial Partners, said  Target may have an easier time rebounding than other struggling retailers. “Target is unique. They offer low-end values but high-end consumers like shopping there. The benefit they have is that they also sell food. It’s like going to two stores with one trip,” he told CNN Money.

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