Same-store sales increased 4.8% while comparable digital sales surged 42%. Online sales represented 7.1% of Target’s transactions in the quarter, up from 5.2% a year earlier.
The company reiterated its expectations of a strong financial performance for the full year, with a low- to mid-single digit increase in comparable-store sales and a mid-single digit increase in operating income.
“Target had an outstanding first quarter, as our team delivered a great experience for our guests and drove strong growth in traffic, comparable sales, operating income and earnings per share,” Brian Cornell, Target’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Over the last two years we have made important investments to build a durable operating and financial model that drives consumer relevance and sustainable growth. Target’s first quarter performance and market-share gains demonstrate that the model is working. Throughout this year, we will continue to extend the reach of our same-day fulfillment options, strengthen our portfolio of owned and exclusive brands, remodel and open more stores and invest in our team. We’re confident that we’re well-positioned to deliver strong financial performance in 2019 and beyond.”
Target has now reported rising comps for eight consecutive quarters. The company said traffic at its stores rose 4.3% in the first quarter and the average transaction amount was up 0.5%.
Customers responded well to the continued roll out of new brands that Target either owns or are exclusive to it. The roster increased by two in April with the introductions of Everspring — a line of more than 70 household cleaners and paper products made with biological or recycled materials and natural fibers — and Sun Squad, a seasonal collection of nearly 600 products that the company said “capture the essence of summer.” Target recently introduced a limited-edition collaborations with apparel brand vineyard vines on a collection of more than 300 items spanning home and outdoor merchandise, pet goods, swimwear, and apparel for men, women and children. That collaboration is already one of its] most successful to date, the company said. Vineyard vines is the most recent iteration of a collaborative design concept that Target introduced nearly two decades ago and that has produced limited-edition collections from brands including TOMS, Lilly Pulitzer, Hunter and Marimekko.
Target said it returned $608 million to shareholders in the first quarter, including $330 million in dividends and share buybacks totaling $277 million that retired 3.6 shares of common stock.