Target’s Comp Sales Surge 3.4% Over Holidays

The Christmas period results give "some validation to Target’s expensive plan to improve stores, delivery logistics, and customer service."
Matthew HellerJanuary 9, 2018

Target’s shares rose nearly 3% on Tuesday after the retailer reported better-than-expected holiday season sales and boosted its guidance for the full year.

Target said same-store sales, a key retail metric, increased 3.4% in November and December, well above its forecast of 0% to 2% growth and Wall Street expectations. The surge reflected strong traffic growth and continued strength in digital sales.

All of Target’s merchandise categories — Home, Apparel, Food & Beverage, Hardlines, and Essentials – were positive and the company is expecting 2017 will be the fourth consecutive year in which its digital sales grow more than 25%.

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In trading Tuesday, Target’s stock climbed 2.9% to $69.14. “We are very pleased with our holiday season performance, which reflects the progress we’ve made against our strategy throughout the year,” CEO Brian Cornell said in a news release.

“We’ve positioned our stores at the center of a continually expanding suite of convenient fulfillment options and made significant investments in our team, which enabled our stores to fulfill 70 percent of all digital orders in the November/December period,” he added.

As USA Today reports, Target is “the latest retailer to reap the bounty from a holiday season that paid off for the entire industry as U.S. sales rose 4.9% — the biggest bump in six years according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.”

Macy’s and J.C. Penney have also reported holiday sales bumps but Fortune said Target’s Christmas period results “are providing some validation to Target’s expensive plan to improve stores, delivery logistics, and customer service to better fight Walmart and, among others.” Target announced a $7 billion spending plan in February.

On the digital front, some 70% of Target’s holiday season online orders were filled at least partially by a store, which speeds up delivery and makes more efficient use of store inventory.

Target is now forecasting fourth-quarter earnings of between $1.30 to $1.40 per share, up from the previous range of $1.05 and $1.25. It also boosted its guidance for full-year2017 to between $4.64 and $4.74 a share, up from an earlier projection of $4.40 to $4.60.