Target Rides Higher After Beating Q2 Estimates

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When Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) reported its fiscal second-quarter financial results before the market opened on Wednesday, the retailer said that it had $1.23 in earnings per share (EPS) and $16.43 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $1.19 in EPS and revenue of $16.3 billion. In the same period of last year, it posted EPS of $1.23 and $16.17 billion in revenue.

Second-quarter sales increased 1.6% to the current level, reflecting a 1.3% comparable sales increase combined with the benefit from sales in non-mature stores. Comparable digital channel sales grew 32% and contributed 1.1 percentage points to comparable sales growth.

During the second quarter, the company returned $627 million to shareholders, which consisted of $331 million in dividends and the remainder being share repurchases. At the end of the second quarter, $4.1 billion remains under the current repurchase authorization.

In terms of guidance for the coming quarter, management expects to see EPS in the range of $0.75 to $0.95 and comparable sales growth that is consistent with the first two quarters of this year so far.

On the books, Target’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $2.29 billion at the end of the quarter, down from $2.51 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Brian Cornell, board chair and chief executive of Target, commented:

We continue to focus on our long-term strategy, as we work to transform every part of our business and build an even better Target that will thrive in this new era in retail. While our recent results are encouraging, we will continue to plan prudently as we invest in building our brands, our digital channel, the value we provide our guests and elevating service levels in our stores.

Shares of Target closed Tuesday at $54.35, with a consensus analyst price target of $58.38 and a 52-week range of $48.56 to $79.33. Following the release, the stock was up close to 6% at $57.50 in early trading indications Wednesday.