Target's January Sales Rise

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Target Corporation (TGT), the operator of general merchandise and food discount stores in the United States, registered a 3.1% increase in its comparable-store sales (comps) for Jan 2013, surpassing analysts’ expectations.

Results also improved sequentially as Target registered flat comps in Dec 2012. The company stated that the rise in comparable-store transactions and increase in average transaction size boosted the results.

With consumers regaining confidence, Jan 2013 was strong on the whole for most retailers, with other players including Kohl's Corp. (KSS), Nordstrom Inc (JWN) and Macy’s Inc (M) registering comps growth of over 10%.

Category wise, Target reported solid sales in Food and Health and Beauty, both rising in the mid-single digit, while apparel and hardlines witnessed sales decline.

Net retail sales for this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company jumped 29.6% to $6 billion in Jan 2013 from $4.6 billion reported in the year-ago period. Quarter-to-date and year to date, net retail sales increased 6.8% and 5.1% to $22.4 billion and $72 billion, respectively, while comps increased 0.4% and 2.7%, respectively.

Going forward, the company plans to introduce a new section dedicated to grocery at its stores as part of its P-fresh remodel program, which facilitates the company to sustain sales momentum and continue to drive traffic through fresh offerings and enhanced customer shopping experience.

Alongside, Target is seeking promising expansion opportunities in international markets such as Canada and Latin America and revealed its plans to introduce smaller-format stores called CityTarget. Moreover, Target announced its year-round price matching policy with the aim of offering its patrons the facility to match the prices being offered by online retail giants.

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