Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. And this year, that day is Nov. 28, the latest possible date it can be. That's bad news for retailers because it shortens the holiday shopping season to 25 days, the shortest season since 2013.
But Target (NYSE:TGT) aims to make the most out of its limited time to cash in with holiday shoppers. Target's stock hit an all-time high on Oct. 22 ($114.83) and closed Monday at $108.77. Target's strategy to approach or surpass that mark during the holidays would continue to pay off for investors. (If it reaches $112, that would move its market capitalization to an amazing $57 billion!)
Here are five specific moves that may give the retailer an edge this season:
- More money for more workers
Target is spending $50 million more on payroll during the fourth quarter than it did a year ago. The idea is to ensure there are more workers on hand to help busy shoppers hurrying to get their shopping done in a shortened season. And the retailer is also doubling the amount of employees dedicated to order fulfillment. Speaking of shipping...
- Great shipping deals
Target is offering shipping deals that are among the best from retailers. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 21, Target shoppers can get hundreds of thousands of items shipped for free, with no minimum purchase required. For last-minute shoppers -- and you know who you are -- the retailer also offers same-day delivery with Shipt. Target bought Shipt, the same-day delivery service, in 2017 for $550 million.
- Deals for loyal shoppers
Target is investing significantly in Target Circle, its free nationwide loyalty program. Target Circle participants gain early access to sales, including Black Friday doorbusters, and 1% back on every Target shopping trip.
- Toys, toys, toys
Since the closing of all Toys R Us stores last summer, Target has moved toward dominating the toy retailing space. This holiday shopping season, Target will offer 10,000 new or exclusive toys, gadgets, and games. Plus, Target has opened Disney shops in 25 of its stores.
- Partnerships with popular brands
Since 2017, Target has launched more than 20 new brands based on popular partnerships. Among its heavy-hitters are Chrissy Teigen's Cravings cookware, Chip and Joanna Gaines Hearth and Hand home decor line, and Vineyard Vines. These brands bring in hoards of shoppers, gain attention on social media while exposing consumers to Target's other private labels when they're in the store.
And its financials look pretty festive, too.
Growth in EPS bodes well
Target will announce third-quarter earnings Nov. 20, and if its earnings-per-share (EPS) growth is any indication (and it is), expect a good performance. Target has beat earnings estimates the past two quarters. In the first quarter, Target reported posted $1.53 per share, and its second-quarter result was $1.82.
EPS growth is an important metric because it indicates a company's future prospects. It's usually expressed as a percentage and is then referred to as the EPS growth rate. For Target, growth in EPS this year is 16.4%, with EPS expected to grow 7.2% in the coming year.
Good choice for dividends
Investors on the hunt for a dividend stock promising growth should take a closer look at Target. The retailer has a long history of paying dividends to its shareholders; 2019 is the 48th consecutive year shareholders have enjoyed an increase in its annual dividend. Target has increased its dividend five times on a year-over-year basis in the last five years, for an annual increase of 6.39%. These regular and growing payouts demonstrate Target's commitment to increase and maintain its dividend.
How does Target's dividend yield of 2.44% compare to the industry and to the market? The Retail-Discount Stores industry's yield is 0.83, and Standard & Poor's 500 comes in at 1.84%.
Of course, Target's competitors, including Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), are making their own moves to attract holiday shoppers. Walmart is offering deals beginning Friday, Nov. 8, well before Black Friday, Nov. 29. And Amazon is spending millions to offer Prime members next-day delivery.
But Target's price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) is 16.65, lower than both Walmart's at 23.13, and Amazon's, which is 66.34. In general, this means Target is a better buy for the investor looking for undervalued stock. Those investors may want to put Target on their shopping lists this holiday season.