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Earnings

Target earnings top estimates as sales rise 21%, boosted by a surge of post-holiday shoppers

People exit Target store in Midtown Manhattan on August 19, 2020 in New York.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | Corbis News | Getty Images

Target will report its fourth-quarter earnings before the bell on Tuesday, as it tries to sustain gains while pandemic-related tailwinds ease.

The retailer will host a virtual investor day on Tuesday to share its strategy for the year ahead.

Here’s what Wall Street is expecting for the quarter, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $2.54 expected
  • Revenue: $27.48 billion expected

Target has attracted more customers with its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise, from cereal to workout pants, as competitors like Macy’s and Kohl’s temporarily closed stores and saw sales decline during the pandemic. The big-box retailer said it gained about $6 billion in market share in the first three fiscal quarters of the year, citing internal and third-party research.

Curbside pickup and same-day delivery of online purchases to the home have especially gained popularity, as shoppers have looked for easy and safe ways to replenish their kitchens and buy other items.

Target has already reported sales growth over the holidays, typically a major fourth-quarter sales driver. Sales at stores open at least 13 months and online rose 17.2% in November and December compared with the same period a year earlier. Customers shopped more frequently with the company and bought more when they did. Combined transactions online and in stores rose 4.3% and average tickets grew by 12.3% during the two-month period compared with a year earlier, the company said.

Analysts expect the retailer’s same-store sales to jump by 16.8% for the fourth quarter, according to StreetAccount estimates.

In the months ahead, Target will face challenging comparisons because of its heightened sales levels during the global health crisis. It will have to hold on to customers and their wallets as Covid-19 cases decline and more Americans get vaccinated, which could prompt people to potentially return to old habits. Instead of consolidating trips at a Target store or on its website, shoppers may spend weekends at the mall again or put more of their money toward dining out, going to the movies or traveling.

As of Monday’s close, Target shares have risen nearly 81% over the past year and brought the company’s market value to $93.19 billion.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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