In this April 6, 2020 file photo, a customer wearing a mask carries his purchases as he leaves a Target store during the coronavirus pandemic, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Target is the latest big U.S. retailer to show that it's prospering during the pandemic. The Minneapolis company reported Wednesday, Nov. 18 that its online sales surged 155% in the three months that ended Oct. 31. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Target extended its strong sales streak through the holiday quarter and grabbed business from rivals.
Fourth quarter profits soared 66%, the retailer reported Tuesday, and sales jumped 21%, both topping Wall Street expectations.
Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 6.9% compared with the same period last year. Online sales soared 118%. Customer traffic in stores rose 3.7% and average dollars spent rose 15%.
In the previous quarter, same-store sales rose 10%, while online sales spiked 155%,
Target picked up $9 billion in market share from rivals in fiscal 2020.
Big box stores including Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart all had huge fourth quarters with Americans still consolidating shopping trips.
Like all big-box stores, Target was allowed to stay open during the early onset of the pandemic last year, while department stores and mall-based retailers were forced to temporarily close because they were considered non-essential. That increased the dominance of Target and other discounters.
Target, which had already been expanding its delivery services before the pandemic, pushed even harder in that area. Same-day services such as picking up orders inside the store or at curbside, soared 212%, led by drive-up service, which increased more than 500%.
And it's omnipresent store locations have been an advantage. More than 95% of Target's fourth quarter sales were fulfilled by its own stores.
Target has also announced a series of partnerships that should help drive more shoppers to its stores. Late last year, it signed a deal with beauty chain Ulta Beauty that will place Ulta shops in more than 100 Target stores by mid-2021.
Target said that earnings reached $1.38 billion, or $2.73 per share, in the fourth quarter. That compares with $834 million, or $1.63 per share. Adjusted results were $2.67 per share, which topped estimates of $2.54 per share, according to FactSet.
Sales rose 21% to $28 billion for the quarter. Analysts were expecting $27.4 billion.
Featured Article: Bar Chart7 Hotel Stocks Just Waiting For the Vaccine
Like any group of stocks related to travel and tourism, hotel stocks saw a steep drop in share prices in 2020. The leisure and hospitality sector that once had 15 million employees has lost 4 million jobs since February.
Many major cities will be feeling the ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for years. However, there is ample evidence that shows the pandemic may be coming to an end. The number of new cases is dropping. The number of those getting vaccinated is rising. And even in the cities with the most restrictive mitigation measures, the slow process of reopening is beginning.
All of this can’t come fast enough for individuals who rely on the travel and tourism industry for their livelihood. Hotel chains had at least some revenue coming in the door. And when earnings season concludes, the more budget-friendly hotel chains may realize revenue that is 75% of its 2019 numbers. But that is not enough to bring the hotels to anywhere near full employment. Particularly with hotels that have bars and restaurants that have remained closed or open at limited capacity.
Many economists are optimistic that travel may begin to look more normal by the summer of this year. And the global economy may deliver 6.4% GDP growth this year. With that in mind, the hotel chains with the best fundamentals and the broadest footprint will be in the best position as the economy reopens.
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