Press Release

Target Reports First Quarter 2019 Earnings

  • May 22, 2019


Results Include Better-Than-Expected Comparable Sales, Operating Income and EPS

  • First quarter comparable sales grew 4.8 percent on traffic growth of 4.3 percent.
  • First quarter comparable digital channel sales grew 42 percent, on top of 28 percent last year.

Comparable digital sales contributed 2.1 percentage points to Target’s overall comparable sales growth.

Same-day fulfillment services (Order Pick Up, Drive Up and Shipt) drove well over half of the Company’s digital sales growth.

  • First-quarter operating income of $1.135 billion was 9.0 percent higher than a year ago.
  • GAAP EPS from continuing operations were $1.53, up 15.1 percent from last year. Adjusted EPS were $1.53, up 15.9 percent from last year.
  • In the second quarter, Target expects low- to mid-single digit growth in its comparable sales.
  • The midpoint of Target’s second quarter EPS guidance of $1.52 to $1.72 represents high single digit growth compared with prior year GAAP EPS from continuing operations and double-digit growth compared with prior year Adjusted EPS.
  • For the fiscal year, Target continues to expect a low- to mid-single digit increase in comparable sales and both GAAP EPS and Adjusted EPS of $5.75 to $6.05.
  • Additional media materials

Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today announced its first quarter 2019 performance, including first quarter comparable sales growth of 4.8 percent driven by a 4.3 percent increase in comparable traffic.  The Company reported GAAP earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations of $1.53 in first quarter 2019, up 15.1 percent from $1.33 in first quarter 2018.  First quarter Adjusted EPS were $1.53, up 15.9 percent from $1.32 in first quarter 2018. The attached tables provide a reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP measures. All earnings per share figures refer to diluted EPS.

“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,” said Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation. “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.”

Second Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Guidance
Target expects second quarter comparable sales growth in the low- to mid-single digit range, mid-single digit growth in operating income dollars and both GAAP EPS from continuing operations and Adjusted EPS of $1.52 to $1.72.

For full-year 2019, Target continues to expect a low- to mid-single digit increase in comparable sales, a mid-single digit increase in operating income, and both GAAP EPS from continuing operations and Adjusted EPS of $5.75 to $6.05.

Second quarter and full-year 2019 GAAP EPS from continuing operations may include the impact of certain discrete items which will be excluded in calculating Adjusted EPS. The Company is not currently aware of any such discrete items.

Operating Results
Total revenue of $17.6 billion increased 5.0 percent from $16.8 billion last year, reflecting sales growth of 5.1 percent combined with a 0.5 percent increase in other revenue.

First quarter sales growth of 5.1 percent reflected comparable sales growth of 4.8 percent combined with the contribution from non-mature stores. Comparable digital sales grew 42 percent, contributing 2.1 percentage points to comparable sales growth.  Operating income was $1,135 million in first quarter 2019, up 9.0 percent from $1,041 million in 2018.

First quarter operating income margin rate was 6.4 percent in 2019, compared with 6.2 percent in 2018. First quarter gross margin rate was 29.6 percent, compared with 29.8 percent in 2018, reflecting higher digital fulfillment and supply chain costs, partially offset by the benefit of merchandising strategies. First quarter SG&A expense rate was 20.8 percent in 2019, compared with 21.1 percent in 2018. This performance reflected cost savings in technology and a year-over-year timing benefit in marketing expenses, combined with strong expense control across the Company which offset continued pressure from wage growth.

Interest Expense and Taxes from Continuing Operations
The Company’s first quarter 2019 net interest expense was $126 million, compared with $121 million last year. First quarter 2019 effective income tax rate from continuing operations was 22.4 percent, compared with 22.6 percent last year.

Shareholder Returns
The Company returned $608 million to shareholders in first quarter 2019, including:

  • Dividends of $330 million, compared with $334 million in first quarter 2018, reflecting a decline in share count partially offset by a 3.2 percent increase in the dividend per share.
  • Share repurchases totaling $277 million that retired 3.6 million shares of common stock at an average price of $76.98.

At the end of the first quarter, the Company had approximately $1.0 billion of remaining capacity under its current $5 billion share repurchase program.

For the trailing twelve months through first quarter 2019, after-tax return on invested capital (ROIC) was 14.3 percent, compared with 15.2 percent for the twelve months through first quarter 2018. Excluding the discrete impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, ROIC was 14.1 percent for the trailing twelve months ended May 4, 2019, compared with 13.5 percent in the comparable prior-year period.  See the tables of this release for additional information about the Company’s ROIC calculation.

Conference Call Details
Target will webcast its first quarter earnings conference call at 7:00 a.m. CDT today. Investors and the media are invited to listen to the call at (hover over “investors” then click on “events & presentations”). A telephone replay of the call will be available beginning at approximately 10:30 a.m. CDT today through the end of business on May 24, 2019. The replay number is 866-419-8652.

Statements in this release regarding second quarter and full-year 2019 earnings per share, operating income and comparable sales guidance are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially. The most important risks and uncertainties are described in Item 1A of the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2019. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at more than 1,800 stores and at Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals millions of dollars a week. For the latest store count or more information, visit For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.