Target’s Bright Spot: Robust Customer Traffic
NEW YORK (AP) -- Target proved itself one of the few retailers that saw more customers both at its stores and online, through its investment in updating the store's hurt first-quarter profit.
The discounter cited a combination of store remodeling, new brands and expanded delivery options as helping customer traffic rise 3.7 percent in the quarter, including stores and online. Target's CEO also acknowledged the tailwinds of a strong economy.
It's Target's strongest performance in at least a decade and put it alongside chains like Costco and TJX that have posted robust increases.
Minneapolis-based Target also saw a solid 3 percent increase in sales at established stores. Cornell said strong sales growth in its home, essentials and food and beverage categories offset the impact of delayed sales in weather-sensitive categories like clothing. Online sales rose 28 percent in the quarter.
It's a tricky balancing act. Stores need to expand their online product offerings and services, but they have to do so without hurting store traffic. Target said it doesn't break down traffic by stores and online.
Target is re-investing more than $7 billion through 2020 to update stores and open smaller locations in urban markets. It's also revamping its store brands. The company also increased the minimum hourly pay to $12 starting this spring, the second hike in a matter of months.