What happened

It has been a good year for Target (NYSE:TGT) shareholders, as the stock gained 31% in the first half of 2019 compared to a 17% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Two women shopping for apparel.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors have had plenty of good news to celebrate in the retailer's business this year, starting with a banner holiday season report that showed healthy customer traffic growth and robust demand across Target's portfolio of apparel and home goods. Like rival Walmart, the chain is enjoying its best expansion rate in years, partly thanks to a successful shift into multichannel retailing.

Now what

CEO Brian Cornell and his team have issued a bold prediction for 2019 that calls for market share gains across all of Target's main product categories and selling channels. Yet investors are even more excited about the prospect of rising profitability following a rough patch between 2015 and 2018.

In other words, it's finally time for the company's biggest investments, like upgrading stores to act as fulfillment centers and adding fast shipping capabilities, to start paying off in terms of faster sales and earnings growth.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.