September 17, 2021

U.S. retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) reported second-quarter results that saw sales rise in every merchandise category from apparel to grocery, helping the company beat analyst estimates.

With back-to-school spending off to a promising start, the big-box retailer raised its forecast for the full year. Target says it expects to see comparable sales rise by high single-digits in the second half of this year. It had previously anticipated growth in the single digits.

Target’s net income jumped to $1.82 billion U.S., or $3.65 U.S. per share, from $1.7 billion U.S., or $3.35 U.S. per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected EPS of $3.49 U.S. a share.

Target’s total revenue rose 9.5% to $25.16 billion U.S. from the same period a year ago, slightly above analysts’ expectations of $25.08 billion U.S.

Target’s profits were nearly double those in the same quarter of 2019, before the pandemic supercharged its sales. Last year’s sales blew away Wall Street’s estimates, with comparable sales surging by 24.3% as its digital sales nearly tripled.

Comparable sales in this year’s second quarter were more modest, with 8.9% growth. That was roughly in line with the 8.8% growth that analysts expected. Comparable store sales grew 8.7%, while digital comparable sales grew 10%. Those metrics were up 10.9% and 195%, respectively, in the year-ago quarter.

U.S. retail sales in July were worse than expected and raised new questions about whether the Delta variant of COVID-19 is starting to chill spending or if consumers are spending more money on services such as airline tickets, concerts and restaurant meals and less on goods.

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