Has Target Ended Its Free Fall?

MINNEAPOLIS – Following a year of declining sales and falling stock prices, Target announced Thursday that it expects to report a modest increase in its second quarter comparable sales.

Target claims it has experienced increased traffic and sales trends over the course of the first two months of the second quarter.

“Target’s recent progress reinforces our confidence and commitment to our strategy as we build an even better Target for tomorrow,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a press release. “Following better-than-expected results in the first quarter, we’ve seen additional, broad-based improvement in traffic and category sales trends in the second quarter, despite continued challenges in the competitive environment.”

Target’s stock price jumped by about three percent Thursday. While the company had closed at $50.87 a share on Wednesday, it opened Thursday morning at $52.27.

This is still at one of the lowest points Target has seen in recent years. On April 19, 2016, Target’s stock price closed at $83.98 per share, an all time high for the company. That was the same day the company announced its transgender inclusive bathroom policy.

Since then Target’s stock price fell dramatically. On July 11, the price closed at $50.18, the lowest mark the company has recorded since January 27, 2012.

Cornell attributed the increased sales numbers to some new innovations, even as the company has cut down on its innovation efforts, including firing people holding senior executive level positions. This includes the beginning of a pilot program for curbside pickup of orders, reports the Star Tribune.

“Our team is energized and focused on enhancing and modernizing the Target shopping experience, and our guests are responding,” Cornell said in the press release. “The launch of Cloud Island in May was a success, and our team will be rolling out four more exclusive brands across Home and Apparel in the next few months, in support of our plan to launch 12 new brands by the end of 2018.”

The increased sales numbers are expected to be released August 16.

Anders Koskinen