Discount retailer Target announced its first quarter 2018 financial performance, including first quarter comparable sales growth of 3.0 percent and 3.7 percent traffic growth. The Company reported GAAP earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations of $1.33 in first quarter 2018, up 9.1 percent from $1.21 in first quarter 2017. First quarter Adjusted EPS were $1.32, up 9.4 percent from $1.20 in first quarter 2017.
Target operates 1,829 stores nationwide.
“We’re very pleased that our business continued to generate strong traffic and sales growth in the first quarter, as we made significant progress in support of our long-term strategic initiatives,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. “Our first quarter performance reflects the benefit of our unique multi-category portfolio. Strong sales growth in our home, essentials and food & beverage categories offset the impact of delayed sales in temperature-sensitive categories, which accelerated rapidly in recent weeks as weather improved across the country. Additionally, our team is delivering excellent execution and guest service every day, and momentum in our traffic has accelerated in the second quarter. As a result, we expect Target’s second quarter comparable sales growth will move into the low to mid single-digit range, and the midpoint of our second quarter EPS guidance represents approximately 15 percent growth over last year.”
Total revenue of $16.8 billion increased 3.4 percent from $16.2 billion last year, reflecting sales growth of 3.5 percent combined with a slight decline in other revenue. First quarter sales growth reflected comparable sales growth of 3.0 percent combined with the contribution from non-mature stores. Comparable digital channel sales grew 28 percent and contributed 1.1 percentage points of comparable sales growth. Operating income was $1,041 million in first quarter 2018, down 9.9 percent from $1,155 million in 2017.
First quarter operating income margin rate was 6.2 percent, compared with 7.1 percent in 2017. First quarter gross margin rate was 29.8 percent, compared with 30.0 percent in 2017, reflecting pressure from digital fulfillments costs and sales mix, partially offset by the benefit of the Company’s cost saving efforts and the net impact of changes to the Company’s pricing and promotions. First quarter SG&A expense rate was 21.1 percent in 2018, compared with 20.7 percent in 2017, driven by higher compensation costs, including investments in store team member hours and wage rates.
Target expects second quarter comparable sales growth to accelerate into the low to mid single-digit range. For the second quarter, the Company expects both GAAP EPS from continuing operations and Adjusted EPS of $1.30 to $1.50, compared with GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $1.21 and Adjusted EPS of $1.22 in first quarter 2017.
For full-year 2018, Target continues to expect a low-single digit increase in comparable sales, and both GAAP EPS from continuing operations and Adjusted EPS of $5.15 to $5.45.