Why Target Earnings Are Phenomenal

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) released its fiscal third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The big-box retailer said that it had $1.36 in earnings per share (EPS) and $18.7 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of $1.19 in EPS and $18.49 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had $1.09 in EPS and $17.82 billion in revenue.

Total revenue increased 4.7% year over year, reflecting sales growth of 4.7%, combined with an 8.8% increase in other revenue.

During the quarter, comparable sales grew 4.5%, driven by a 3.1% increase in comparable traffic. Comparable digital sales grew 31% — on top of 49% last year. Third-quarter comparable sales growth reflects 2.8% growth in stores and a 1.7 percentage point contribution from digital sales.

Looking ahead to the fiscal fourth quarter, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $1.54 to $1.74 and comparable sales growth of 3% to 4%. Consensus estimates call for $1.65 in EPS and $23.84 billion in revenue for the quarter.

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

The Target team did an excellent job serving our guests and executing our strategy throughout the third quarter. Our third quarter results are further proof of the durability of our strategy, as we’re seeing industry-leading strength across multiple metrics, from the top line to the bottom line. Looking ahead, we have ushered in the holiday season with an unwavering commitment to guest service that complements our highly differentiated, value-driven assortment, our exceptional in-store shopping experience as well as an unmatched suite of easy and convenient fulfillment options.

Shares of Target closed Tuesday at $110.85, in a 52-week range of $60.15 to $114.83. The consensus price target is $115.89. Following the announcement, the stock was up about 10% at $122.30 in early trading indications Wednesday.