Store brands, online traffic help Target enjoy record second quarter

Minneapolis-based Target announced sizzling 2018 second-quarter earnings, 6.4 percent traffic growth and comparable sales growth of 6.5 percent, the best comp in 13 years, the retailer said in a press release.

The mass merchandiser said it is revamping its business to better compete in an omni-channel environment, and investing some $7 billion in expanding digital operations, remodeling existing stores, launching new smaller-format locations and enhancing its merchandising mix with an array of new store brands.

The moves seem to be paying off. Total sales were up 7 percent from a year ago, Target added, reflecting 0.5 point of growth from new and non-mature stores.

"We are extremely pleased with Target's second quarter results, which demonstrate our guests' excitement for the enhanced and differentiated shopping experience we're building,” said Brian Cornell, Target’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We laid out a clear strategy at the beginning of 2017 … and are on track to deliver a strong back half, and we've updated our full-year guidance to reflect the strength of our business and the consumer economy. As we look ahead to 2019, we expect to achieve scale across the full slate of our initiatives ― creating efficiencies and cost-savings, further strengthening our guest experience and positioning Target to continue gaining market share."

The company’s net income totaled $799 million, or $1.49 per share, compared with $671 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago. Digital sales grew 41 percent in the second quarter as store customers responded to a larger selection of convenient fulfillment options, updates in merchandising categories and “a higher level of service across the chain.”