Mass market retailer Target shattered Wall Street expectations for its first quarter 2017, with sales coming in at $16 billion. Although that number was down 1.1% from the same time last year, when it reached $16.2 billion, it still beat analysts’ forecast and sent shares skyrocketing 6% when the news broke yesterday.
The company credited the slowdown to its turnaround plan. “After starting the quarter with very soft trends, we saw improvement later in the quarter, particularly in March,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target. “We are in the early stage of a multi-year effort to position Target for profitable, consistent long-term growth, and while we are confident in our plans, we are facing multiple headwinds in the current landscape. As a result, we will continue to plan our business prudently while preparing our team to chase business when we have an opportunity.”
Other results included:
First quarter GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $1.22 was 20.0 percent higher than first quarter 2016. First quarter 2016 performance included $0.26 of debt-retirement costs.
Adjusted EPS was $1.21, 6.1 percent below first quarter 2016.
First quarter comparable sales decreased 1.3 percent, driven by small declines in both traffic and basket size.
Comparable digital channel sales increased 22 percent, on top of 23 percent growth in first quarter 2016.
Target returned $637 million to shareholders in the first quarter through dividends and share repurchases.