Target Misses Expectations For Holiday Season

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) has joined a growing list of retailers reporting meager performances during the critical holiday shopping season. The company reported same-store sales were up just 1.4 percent during November and December, compared with growth of 5.7 percent a year earlier. Target said it now expects fourth-quarter same-store sales to fall in line with the 1.4 percent growth it experienced during November and December, compared with a prior outlook of 3 percent to 4 percent growth.

Target had been expected to be a standout among retailers for holiday sales, especially in the toys category. Following Toys R Us’ liquidation, the company invested in creating more square footage in stores for toys, including for mini Disney shops within certain Target shops. Target also is now powering the website of the relaunched Toys R Us brand.

Target said toy sales were about flat with the prior year this holiday season. Electronics sales were down more than 6 percent in November and December, while sales of home items were down about 1 percent. Together these three categories account for approximately one-third of Target’s holiday season sales. According to an analysis by Mastercard Spending Pulse, sales of electronics and appliances grew 4.6 percent and the home furniture and furnishings category was up 1.3 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 overall in the retail industry.

Target said it found strength in apparel and beauty in the period. Apparel sales were up about 5 percent, while beauty sales increased roughly 7 percent. Food and beverage sales rose about 3 percent during the holiday period. Target’s digital sales rose 19 percent, significantly lower than the 31 percent growth posted last year. Same-day fulfillment services drove around 75 percent of growth. Target said that on Dec. 24 its employees prepared almost five times the number of products for curbside pickups compared with the same day in 2018.