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Financial, Retail

Target Reports Modest Q1 Sales, Continued Softness in Discretionary Categories

Strength in frequency businesses (beauty, food & beverage and household essentials) offset continued softness in discretionary categories.

target q1 2023 sales infographic
In-store traffic and sales in frequency businesses increased in, offsetting a decline in e-commerce sales in the first quarter 2023.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today announced its first quarter 2023 financial results, which reflected continued traffic and sales growth in an increasingly challenging environment.

The Company reported first quarter GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $2.05, down 4.8 percent from $2.16 in 2022. First quarter Adjusted EPS1 of $2.05 decreased 6.2 percent compared with $2.19 in 2022.

Brian Cornell, chair and CEO of Target Corporation, said, "We came into the year clear-eyed about the challenges consumers are facing, and we were determined to build on the trust we've established with our guests. It's required agility and the ability to flex across our multi-category portfolio as we lean into value and the product categories our guests need most right now. Thanks to the team's dedication, we saw an increase in guest traffic in Q1, with total sales increasing and profitability ahead of expectations.

"As we look ahead, we now expect shrink will reduce this year's profitability by more than $500 million compared with last year. While there are many potential sources of inventory shrink, theft and organized retail crime are increasingly important drivers of the issue. We are making significant investments in strategies to prevent this from happening in our stores and protect our guests and our team. We're also focused on managing the financial impact on our business so we can continue to keep our stores open, knowing they create local jobs and offer convenient access to essentials.

"For the full year, we are maintaining our full-year financial guidance, based on the expected benefit from efficiency and cost-savings efforts and our team's continued focus on agility, flexibility and retail fundamentals in the face of continued challenges including inventory shrink. At the same time, we will continue making long-term investments in our stores, supply chain and our team, positioning Target for profitable growth and market-share gains in the years ahead," he stated.

Based on softening sales trends in the first quarter, the Company is planning for a wide range of sales outcomes in the second quarter, centered around a low-single digit decline in comparable sales. GAAP EPS and Adjusted EPS are both expected to range from $1.30 to $1.70.

For the full year, the Company is maintaining its prior guidance, which includes expected comparable sales in a wide range from a low-single digit decline to a low-single digit increase, operating income growth of more than $1 billion, and both GAAP EPS and Adjusted EPS of $7.75 to $8.75.

Operating Results

Comparable sales were flat to last year in the first quarter, reflecting comparable store sales growth of 0.7 percent and comparable digital sales down (3.4) percent. Total revenue of $25.3 billion grew 0.6 percent compared with last year, reflecting total sales growth of 0.5 percent and a 10.2 percent increase in other revenue. Operating income of $1.3 billion in first quarter 2023, was down 1.4 percent from last year, driven by an increase in the Company's SG&A expense rate.

First quarter operating income margin rate was 5.2 percent in 2023, compared with 5.3 percent in 2022. First quarter gross margin rate was 26.3 percent, compared with 25.7 percent in 2022. This year's gross margin rate reflected the benefit of lower freight costs, retail price increases, lower clearance markdown rates, and lower digital fulfillment costs driven by lower digital volume and a favorable mix of lower-cost same-day services. These benefits were partially offset by higher inventory shrink. First quarter SG&A expense rate was 19.8 percent in 2023, compared with 18.9 percent in 2022, reflecting the impact of cost inflation across multiple parts of the business, including investments in team member pay and benefits.

Key Q1 2023 Highlights

• Target sales grew 0.5 percent, reflecting flat comparable sales combined with the benefit of sales from new locations.

• Traffic grew 0.9 percent, on top of 3.9 percent in Q1 2022.

• Comparable stores sales grew 0.7 percent, offset by a decline in comparable digital sales.

• Among the components of comparable digital sales, same-day services saw mid-single digit growth, led by high-single digit growth in Drive-Up.

• Strength in frequency businesses (Beauty, Food & Beverage and Household Essentials) offset continued softness in discretionary categories.

• Inventory at the end of Q1 was 16 percent lower than last year, reflecting more than a 25 percent reduction in discretionary categories, partially offset by inventory investments to support rapidly-growing frequency categories, and strategic investments to support long-term market-share opportunities.

To read the full Q1 report, click here.
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