Apparel Plays Key Role in Target’s Strong Q3 Performance

Target Corp.’s third-quarter results Wednesday showed strength across the business, from the top line to the bottom. The retailer smashed analysts’ expectations for several metrics and raised its profit outlook for the full year. The performance was attributed to the optimized brand assortment, store remodels, rollout of shipping capabilities and rapid expansion of small-format stores. The news bodes well for Target’s performance during the cutthroat holiday season and is further evidence of the strength of the discount channel following equally strong results from Walmart Inc. and TJX Cos. Inc., while department stores including J.C. Penney Co Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. had weak quarterly results. The Minneapolis-based retailer said last month it will spend $50 million on additional payroll to staff its stores during the season. Net earnings in the third quarter rose 14.8 percent to $714 million, from $622 million in the 2018 third quarter, on sales of $18.4 billion, a 4.7 percent increase over the prior year’s $17.6 billion. Target beat analysts’ consensus estimates for earnings per share of $1.19, posting $1.36 a share in the 2019 third quarter, 24.9 percent higher than last year’s period. Third-quarter comp-store sales grew 4.5 percent, on top of a 5.1 percent gain last year. Over the

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