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Target earnings beat expectations, boosted by online sales

·3 min read
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Target (TGT) reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday that beat Wall Street estimates, boosted by surging digital sales.

Here were the main numbers for Target’s fiscal fourth quarter, compared with Bloomberg estimates:

  • Revenue: $23.40 billion vs. $23.44 billion expected

  • Adjusted EPS: $1.69 vs. $1.66 expected

  • Same-store sales: +1.5% vs. +1.5% expected

However, the midpoint of Target’s forecast missed analysts’ estimates, helping to push down the stock by over 1% in choppy pre-market action.

Like many of its competitors in the retail space retailers, Target is benefiting from a wave of internet buying. Digital sales in the fourth quarter rose 20%, represented 12.3% of total sales, and 2019 was the sixth consecutive year in which Target’s comparable digital sales jumped more than 25%, according to the company.

In 2019, Target’s same-day services grew more than 90% and accounted for more than three-quarters of the retailer’s comp digital sales growth.

Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement that “Target's results demonstrate that we've built a sustainable business model that drives strong topline growth and consistent bottom line performance.”

Target said that it expects first quarter adjusted earnings per share between $1.55 to $1.75 and full-year adjusted earnings per share between $6.70 and $7.00.

After a 2017 investment in recent-IPO Casper Sleep (CSPR), Target reported that it took a $41 million pretax loss in its investment of the mattress maker. The retailer invested $75 million in Casper more than two years ago, and Target sells some exclusive Casper merchandise.

The big box retailer announced Monday that it would be canceling its in-person analyst and investor day in Manhattan Tuesday, the latest company to cancel a major event due to coronavirus concerns.

“Given the rapidly evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus, the Target leadership team has decided to cancel the in-person aspect of Tuesday’s Financial Community Meeting. Instead, we will conduct the meeting remotely from Minneapolis,” a company representative wrote in an email to Yahoo Finance.

PEMBROKE PINES, FLORIDA - AUGUST 21: A Target store is seen on August 21, 2019 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Target Corps. stock price soared after the retailer topped earnings expectations as the company announced that second-quarter profits jumped 17% to $938 million, while revenues rose to $18.4 billion, up 3.6% increase from the year-ago quarter. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Target store is seen on August 21, 2019 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Target’s fiscal fourth quarter results come after the retailer’s weaker-than-expected holiday sales announcement in mid January. The retailer’s same-store sales during November and December grew a meager 1.4% compared to 5.7% a year ago.

Despite Target’s recent woes, the company was crushing its competition in 2019. During its third quarter, Target reported a beat on the top and bottom lines and same-store sales growth that crushed Wall Street’s expectations. The company also issued strong guidance which sent the stock soaring to all-time highs on the announcement.

However, shares of the big box retailer have struggled in 2020. Target stock fell 14% as of Monday’s close, while the broader market was down 4% and the retail ETF, XRT, declined 11% in the same time period. Target’s stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed up by over 5% on Monday at $109.66.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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