Market Overview

Target's 'Transformational Quarter' Keeps Analysts Bullish On The Future

Target's 'Transformational Quarter' Keeps Analysts Bullish On The Future

Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) reported second-quarter results Wednesday morning, which sent shares higher by 20%. The department store giant not only reported a top- and bottom-line beat but management lifted its full-year earnings outlook higher.

Here is a summary of how some of the Street's top analysts reacted to the print.

Morgan Stanley: 'Transformational Quarter'

Target's first-quarter earnings marked a "step in the right direction" but Wednesday's report showcased a "transformational quarter," said Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman. The company showed "healthy" growth rates in the quarter and market share gains across important categories like food, apparel and home goods.

Gutman said Target's report may also signal the end to its prior "margin pain" from heavy investments in the business. As such, any prior bear concerns related to near and medium-term momentum may no longer be valid.

"Transformational Q2 results have inspired greater confidence in TGT's outlook," the analyst wrote in a note.

Related Link: 'Unheard Of': The Early Reaction To Target's Big Quarter

KeyBanc: 3 Reasons To Stay Bullish

The bullish case for Target's stock remains in place and investors should be buyers of the stock for three reasons, said KeyBanc's Edward Yruma.

First, the company showed a 5% comp growth in apparel in the second quarter, which suggests it's gaining market share from troubled and/or closed mall-based retailers.

Second, Target showed a 34% growth in online sales due to the appeal of multiple delivery options, including in-store pickup, drive-up, and home delivery through Shipt. Management expects to continue growing the e-commerce channel at twice the rate of the overall industry average.

Third, first-hand checks at stores that were remodeled emphasizes apparel and home goods items which will help generate a favorable sales mix.

BofA: E-Commerce Strength

Shares of Target hit a new all-time high north of $100 per share on Wednesday and it isn't too late for investors to buy the stock, according to Bank of America analyst Robert Ohmes. The company showed yet again it can simultaneously grow the online business and generate a profit. In fact, management was able to lower gross margin pressures from digital fulfillment and supply chain costs by around half.

"Favorable fulfillment mix shifts, improved process efficiencies, and benefits from TGT's merchandising strategies should continue to reduce gross margin pressure & support modest EBIT margin improvement in F20," Ohmes wrote.

UBS: Credit Is Due

Target's management deserves credit for offering clarity related to its outlook, UBS analyst Michael Lasser wrote in a note. Encouragingly, Target showed a 3.4% same-store sales growth on top of a 6.5% gain in the same quarter last year and this signals difficult comparisons "doesn't stand in its way of growing."

On top of encouraging comps, Target treated investors with a 30 basis point gross margin expansion which is the first of its kind in around three years.

Looking forward there are signs of sustainable momentum in Target's business, especially in private labels which account for around one-third of total sales. The upcoming launch of new private brands, including Good & Gather grocery times, should add another potential layer of growth.

Ratings And Price Targets

  • Morgan Stanley maintains at Equal-Weight, price target lifted from $76 to $107.
  • KeyBanc maintains at Overweight, price target lifted from $110 to $120.
  • BofA maintains at Buy, price target lifted from $105 to $125.
  • UBS maintains at Neutral, price target lifted from $86 to $103.

Price Action

After making a huge move in Wednesday's session, shares of Target hit a new all-time high of $105.44 Thursday morning.

Photo by Skinner2398 via Wikimedia

Latest Ratings for TGT

Aug 2019MaintainsNeutral
Aug 2019ReiteratesBuy
Aug 2019MaintainsEqual-Weight

View More Analyst Ratings for TGT
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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