Can Target Buck This Retail Trend With Earnings?

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Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is scheduled to release its fiscal second-quarter financial results before the markets open on Wednesday. Like many other companies in the retail sector, Target has been left bloody and battered, and with earnings approaching it seems like it’s only going to get worse. However, keep in mind that Target did boost its guidance for the quarter back in June.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, Target has underperformed the broad markets and the stock is down about 23% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is down just over 26%.

Thomson Reuters has consensus estimates of $1.17 in earnings per share (EPS) and $16.26 billion in revenue. The same period from last year reportedly had in EPS $1.23 and $16.17 billion in revenue.

The retailer said back in June that it now expects a “modest increase” in same-store sales for the second quarter, along with both GAAP and adjusted earnings per share above the high end of the store’s previously announced range.

When Target reported first-quarter results in May, the company said it expected a low single-digit decline in same-store sales and adjusted EPS of $0.95 to $1.15. Target now expects a 5% to 9% benefit related to the net tax effect of its global sourcing operations and a charge of two to three cents per share related to an unfavorable resolution of tax matters that will be included in GAAP earnings and omitted from adjusted earnings.

CEO Brian Cornell was fair in his assessment of the updated guidance and Target’s performance:

Following better-than-expected results in the first quarter, we’ve seen additional, broad-based improvement in traffic and category sales trends in the second quarter, despite continued challenges in the competitive environment.

Ahead of the earnings report, a few analysts weighed in on Target:

  • MKM has a Neutral rating.
  • Cowen has a Market Perform rating with a $64 price target.
  • BMO has a Market Perform rating and a $62 price target.
  • Baird has a Neutral rating with a $55 price target.
  • Citigroup has a Neutral rating with a $56 price target.
  • Jefferies has a Hold rating and a $59 price target.
  • Deutsche Bank has a Hold rating with a $59 price target.
  • Telsey Advisory has a Market Perform rating with a $60 price target.

Shares of Target were last seen down 1% at $55.11, with a consensus analyst price target of $58.38 and a 52-week range of $48.56 to $79.33.