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Will Omnichannel Efforts Drive Target (TGT) in Q4 Earnings?

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Target Corporation TGT, which is scheduled to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results on Mar 3, has been benefitting from its efforts to drive store and online sales.

The departmental store retailer has been exploring options to keep pace with the evolving retail environment. To this end, it has been aggressively adopting strategies to enhance the shopping experience through miscellaneous channels. Notably, comparable digital sales rose 19% during the November/December period (or the holiday season), buoyed by same-day fulfillment services. However, the figure marked a deceleration from 29% growth witnessed during the 2018 holiday season.

Notably, Target has been deploying resources to enhance omnichannel capacities, introduce brands, remodel or refurbish stores, and expand same-day delivery options. The company has been expanding its merchandise assortments, with special emphasis on Style, Baby, Kids and Wellness categories that have been performing well. Moreover, management has been focusing on key departments, such as Apparel, Beauty, Electronics, and Food and Beverage. In this regard, the company’s launch of Good & Gather food brand as well as owned brand launches of Everspring, Auden, Colsie and Cloud Island Essentials bode well.

Apart from these, Target’s efforts to make the most of booming online grocery delivery market have been yielding results. In connection with this, the company’s partnership with Instacart, buyouts of Shipt and Grand Junction, and roll out of Target Restock program are noteworthy. Also, Target rolled out a loyalty program — Target Circle — nationwide on Oct 6, 2019, aimed at enhancing customers’ shopping experience.  Such upsides have been aiding the company’s top line.

Markedly, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its revenues is pegged at $23.5 billion, indicating a rise of 2.2% from the figure reported in the year-ago quarter. The consensus mark for fourth-quarter earnings has been stable over the past 30 days at $1.66 per share. This suggests an increase of 8.5% from the year-ago period’s reported figure.

Target Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise



Target Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Target Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Target Corporation Quote

Other Trends

The holiday season, which coincides with the fourth quarter, did not turn out to be a blissful one for Target, with lower-than-expected sales. Management stated that softer-than-expected performance across Electronics, Toys and portions of Home assortment hurt the company’s overall holiday sales.

The disappointing performance compelled management to trim fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 comparable sales growth forecast. For the fourth quarter, Target now envisions comparable sales to rise in line with its November/December performance of 1.4%. Management had earlier projected comparable sales growth of 3-4% for the fourth quarter.

Nonetheless, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company reaffirmed fourth-quarter earnings per share estimates of $1.54-$1.74, which suggests an improvement from $1.53 reported in the year-ago quarter, on top-line growth and margin expansion. (Read More: Factors Likely to Decide Target's Fate in Q4 Earnings)

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