Target Sees Unexpected Upturn to Profit
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Investors and analysts alike were surprised this week as Target Corp. beat the street with its third quarter of fiscal year 2016.
“We are very pleased with our third quarter financial results, which reflect meaningful improvement in our traffic and sales trends and much stronger-than-expected profitability,” explained Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell in the report. “Favorable gross margin mix and efficient execution by our team drove third quarter EPS performance well beyond our guidance. We also continued to gain market share in key Signature Categories and saw unexpectedly strong sales in the Back-to-School and Back-to-College season.”
Highlights for the quarter included:
- Earnings GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $1.06, up 40 percent from Q3
- Adjusted EPS of $1.04, up 22 percent from Q3 2015
- GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $1.06 and Adjusted EPS of $1.04 were both above the high end of guidance
- Third quarter comparable sales decreased 0.2 percent, near the high-end of the guidance range of flat to down 2 percent
- Comparable sales growth in Signature Categories outpaced total comparable sales by more than 3 percentage points
- Digital channel sales increased by 26 percent
Target also noted that it returned $1.2 billion to shareholders in the third quarter through dividends and share repurchases, and its stock reflected a healthy 6-plus percent boost upon the announcement.
“As we move into the biggest quarter of the year, we are pleased with our inventory position and confident that our team will deliver a great guest experience as they bring our merchandising and marketing plans to life throughout the holiday season,” Cornell said of the retailer’s future moves.
Cornell said in an earnings call following the release that there is much more work to do despite meaningful progress in the company’s efforts to improve traffic in sales compared with the second quarter. The retailer even raised its expectations for fourth quarter comparable sales, expecting growth to 1.0 percent.
Recently, we reported that the retailer’s Senior Vice President of Grocery, Anne Dament, departed the company. A replacement has not yet been announced, but Cornell said her department is still an area of improvement for the company.
As the retailer's plans for its food and fresh businesses continue to solidify, AndNowUKnow will keep reporting.