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Target’s Digital Sales Drive a Record Quarter

By Howard Smith – Aug 19, 2020 at 9:34AM

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Comparable sales in the second quarter grew a company record 24.3%.

Target (TGT -2.19%) reported 24.3% comparable sales growth in the second quarter, led by a 195% jump in digital sales. Digital sales have become a growing portion of overall sales, and the company said they contributed to more than half of the comparable sales growth for the quarter. 

Same-day services that the company has ramped up in recent months -- including in-store and curbside pickup and its Shipt delivery service -- soared 273%. The company also said it saw "unusually strong" market share gains in all of its core merchandise categories. For the first half of the year, it said it gained approximately $5 billion in market share. 

red arrow behind bullseye symbol with workers nearby indicating growth

Image source: Getty Images.

Target chair and CEO Brian Cornell attributed the strong results to the company's combination in-store and online business model. In a comment that seemingly attempts to differentiate it from online competitor, Amazon, Cornell said, "Our stores were the key to this unprecedented growth, with in-store comp sales growing 10.9 percent and stores enabling more than three-quarters of Target's digital sales, which rose nearly 200 percent."

Target said total revenue grew 24.7%, and operating income of $2.3 billion was a 73.8% increase from the same period last year. In a sign that expenses remain controlled, its second-quarter operating income margin rate rose from 7.2% in 2019 to 10% in 2020. 

Even with what the company called "unprecedented investments in team member pay & benefits," Target's net earnings per share grew about 85% compared to the previous-year period. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Howard Smith owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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