Can Target Guidance Live Up to Expectations in 2018?

After this holiday season, the picture is becoming clearer about which companies can survive in an Amazon world. We’ve seen retailers like Macy’s, Sears and Nordstrom have a rocky start to 2018. On the other hand, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) has posted updated guidance, and it seems to be one of the retailers that might be able to survive the Amazon storm.

Target noted that comparable sales growth of 3.4% in the November/December period was driven by strong traffic growth and continued strength in digital sales, which are expected to have grown more than 25% in 2017. Target is expecting fourth-quarter comparable sales growth near 3.4% and full-year 2017 comparable sales growth of more than 1%.

Target also expects to see earnings per share (EPS) of $1.30 to $1.40, compared to the prior range of $1.05 to $1.25. The consensus estimates call for $1.22 in EPS and $22.08 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter.

For the full year, the company now expects EPS of $4.64 to $4.74, compared with prior guidance of $4.40 to $4.60. Thomson Reuters is forecasting $4.56 in EPS and $71.19 billion in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year.

Looking ahead to 2018, Target expects 2018 EPS between $5.15 and $5.45. The consensus estimates are $4.37 in EPS and $71.27 billion in revenue.

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

We are very pleased with our holiday season performance, which reflects the progress we’ve made against our strategy throughout the year. We’ve positioned our stores at the center of a continually expanding suite of convenient fulfillment options and made significant investments in our team, which enabled our stores to fulfill 70 percent of all digital orders in the November/December period. As we look ahead to 2018, we will build on the foundation we established this year by launching additional exclusive brands, enhancing our digital capabilities, opening approximately 30 small-format stores and tripling the size of our remodel program to more than 325 stores. We will also remain focused on rapidly scaling up new fulfillment options including Same Day Delivery, which will be enabled by our acquisition of Shipt, and our recently launched Drive Up service.

Shares of Target were traded up nearly 3% at $69.00 Tuesday morning, with a consensus analyst price target of $64.10 and a 52-week range of $48.56 to $72.08.