Target (NYSE:TGT) announced third-quarter results Wednesday, and blew past analyst estimates on both sales and earnings. Its $22.6 billion in revenue beat expectations by almost $2 billion. Earnings were $2.79 per share, handily beating the analyst estimates of $1.60 reported by Refinitiv. Overall comp store sales grew 20.7%, with digital sales accounting for more than half of that as they jumped 155%. 

The company attributed the results to the surge in retail sales prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, but CEO Brian Cornell said it is also seeing results from "the benefits of our multi-year effort to build a durable and flexible model, with a differentiated assortment and a suite of industry-leading fulfillment options."

front of Target store at dawn

Target's Buckhead store in Atlanta, Georgia. Image source: Target.

Last week, Target announced a partnership with Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA). The retailer will be adding new, scaled-down Ulta shops inside some Target locations beginning next year. The "Ulta Beauty at Target" shops will be adjacent to the existing beauty product area of the store, and will have specially trained workers to add to the customer experience. 

Beauty sales aren't the only area of growth for Target. The company reported electronics grew 50%, home comparable sales grew in the mid-20% range, and apparel grew about 10%. 

The company didn't reinstate the guidance for fiscal 2020 that it withdrew during the first quarter due to the pandemic, but it did lift its suspension on share repurchases, which it said will resume in 2021.

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.