Store Traffic, Home Help Boost Target Q1 Sales

First quarter sales at Target were up 3.5% as company officials pointed to strong growth in home, essentials and food and beverage as key categories that drove positive results.

In addition, officials with the retailer noted that the company’s 3.7% increase in store traffic was the largest quarterly increase in more than 10 years.

For the three months ended May 5, total company sales were $16.6 billion, up from sales of $15.9 billion in the comparable quarter the previous year. Net earnings were $718 million, up 5.9% from the prior year with net earnings per share up 8.9% year-over-year. Comparable store sales for the quarter grew 3%.

In addition, first quarter digital sales increased 28%, on top of 21% first-quarter growth in 2017.

“We’re very pleased that our business continued to generate strong traffic and sales growth in the first quarter, as we made significant progress in support of our long-term strategic initiatives,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. “Our first quarter performance reflects the benefit of our unique multi-category portfolio.”

In the first quarter, the company completed 56 remodels, opened seven new stores, introduced three new brands and a successful limited-time collaboration with Hunter, launched its new Drive-Up service in more than 250 stores, expanded Target Restock nationwide and rolled out same-day delivery from more than 700 stores, enabled by its recent acquisition of Shipt.

Looking ahead, Target officials expect second quarter comparable sales growth to accelerate into the low to mid-single-digit range with the company anticipating a low-single-digit increase in comparable sales for the full year.