On What Does a Repeat of Target's Big Quarter Depend?

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) reported second-quarter 2020 results before markets opened Wednesday. The big-box retailer posted diluted net earnings per share (EPS) of $3.38 in the quarter on revenues of $23.0 billion. In the same quarter last year, the company reported EPS of $1.82 and revenues of $18.4 billion. Consensus estimates had called for EPS of $1.62 and revenues of $20.1 billion.

Same-store sales rose by 24.3% year over year, with digital sales rising by 195% to account for 13.4% of the company’s comparable-store sales growth.

Operating income rose 73.8% year over year to $2.3 billion, and operating margin rose from 7.2% in the year-ago quarter to 10.0%.

Target noted second-quarter results “reflect the continuation of heightened sales volume and significant investments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Comparable sales at the company’s physical stores rose by 10.9%, and the stores enabled more than 75% of Target’s digital sales.

The company withdrew fiscal year guidance in the first quarter and did not provide any guidance in Wednesday’s report. Analysts are expecting third-quarter adjusted EPS of $1.24 and sales of $19.4 billion. For the full year, consensus estimates call for EPS of $5.14 and sales of $83.6 billion.

Unlike competitor Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), which noted the decline in July comparable sales, Target offered only boilerplate statements related to future risks. Like Walmart, however, another blistering quarter of sales at Target depends on whether consumers have any cash to spend. Without expanded federal unemployment payments, demand will dry up, especially if the pandemic is not brought under control and people in nonessential industries can safely return to work.

Target ended the quarter with $7.3 billion in cash, up sharply from $2.58 billion a year ago. Long-term debt rose from $11.3 billion to $14.2 billion.

Dividend payments for the quarter totaled $330 million, a 3.1% year over year increase. The dividend yield on the stock is 1.99%. Target has suspended its share buyback program and reported that it has $4.5 billion remaining in its authorization to repurchase stock.

Investors reacted very favorably to the report, pushing the stock up by nearly 9.5% in Wednesday’s premarket trading to $149.80. If that holds after the opening bell, the shares will blow past the current 52-week high of $138.69. The 52-week low is $90.17 and the consensus price target on the stock is $138.50.

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