Target Sees Earnings, Sales Growth In Third Quarter

For the third quarter ended October 31, Target Corp. posted net earnings of $549 million, or 87 cents per diluted share, versus $352 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, in the period a year earlier. Net earnings from continuing operations, which accounts for the now discontinued Canadian business, were $476 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, versus $526 million, or 82 cents per diluted share, in last year’s quarter, the company stated.

Third quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations were 86 cents versus 79 cents in the year-previous period, Target said, reflecting the exclusion of asset-impairment, data breach and restructuring expenses.

Target earnings matched a Zacks Investment Research analyst average estimate.

Third quarter comparable sales gained 1.9%, driven by traffic growth of 1.4% primarily in what Target said are signature categories. Style, baby, kids and wellness grew more than 2.5 times faster than the company average.

Online sales gained 20% and contributed 0.4 percentage points to comparable sales growth, Target reported. Overall sales in the third quarter were $17.61 billion versus $17.25 billion in the period a year ago.

“We’re pleased with our third quarter financial results, as both sales and adjusted earnings per share were near the upper end of our expectations,” said Brian Cornell, Target chairman and CEO. “The third quarter marked the fourth consecutive quarter in which we have grown traffic, and Target’s sales growth continues to be led by our signature categories: Style, Baby, Kids and Wellness. Our momentum is encouraging, especially in the face of stiffer prior-year comparisons. Our results highlight the benefit of a consistent, company-wide focus on our key strategic priorities, and that focus will continue to position Target well in the months and years ahead. As we look forward to the fourth quarter, our team is focused on strong execution throughout the holidays, and we are confident in our merchandising and marketing plans as we enter the most critical season of the year.”

Target currently operates 1,805 stores.