Target holiday same-store sales up 17.2%; ‘strong’ sales trends extend into new year

Marianne Wilson
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Target Corp.’s emphasis on a cozy and comfy holiday at home resonated with customers as the company reported strong holiday sales — online and in-store —and market share gains across its entire product portfolio.
The discounter’s comparable sales in the combined November/December period grew 17.2%. Comp sales in stores rose 4.2%, while comparable digital sales grew 102%. Top holiday sellers included family sleepwear sets, Christmas tree ornaments and Wondershop gingerbread houses (with nearly 2 million sold.)

Target’s sales were driven by a 4.3% increase in traffic and a 12.3% increase in average ticket over the year-ago period. 

The company’s investments in fulfillment clearly paid off during a pandemic holiday season. Target said its comparable digital sales growth was fueled primarily by its same-day fulfillment services (order pick up, drive-up and Shipt), which together grew 193%. Of the services, drive-up grew the fastest at more than 500%. Sales fulfilled by Shipt grew more than 300%.

Between store-originated sales, same-day services and the company's ship-from-store capability, approximately 95% of Target's sales in the holiday period were fulfilled by its stores.

The retailer said it continued to gain market share throughout the holiday period in all five of its core merchandising categories. Growth was the strongest in home, with a comp sales increase in the low-20% range. Comp sales in hardlines also grew in the low 20% range, reflecting mid-20% growth in electronics. In food & beverage, comp sales growth was in line with the company average, while beauty & essentials saw growth in the low teens. Apparel had comp sales growth in the high-single digit range.
"The momentum in our business continued in the holiday season with notable market share gains across our entire product portfolio,” said chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. “We've seen continued strong sales trends in the new year, and as we turn to our 2021 plans, our team is focused on continuing to build on the guest engagement and significant market share we gained throughout 2020."

Target fiscal fourth quarter will end on Jan. 31. It will report the full quarter’s results on March 2 at a virtual investor day.