Comparable sales increase on healthy traffic growth
Second quarter GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $1.22 were 14.2 percent higher than last year. Adjusted EPS1 of $1.23 were essentially flat to last year.
Second quarter comparable sales increased 1.3 percent, driven by traffic growth of 2.1 percent.
Comparable digital channel sales increased 32 percent, on top of 16 percent growth in second quarter 2016.
In the second quarter, Target devoted $717 million to capital investment, paid dividends of $331 million, and returned $296 million through share repurchases.
Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today reported a second quarter 2017 comparable sales increase of 1.3 percent and GAAP earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations of $1.22, an increase of 14.2 percent from second quarter 2016. Second quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations (Adjusted EPS) were $1.23, an increase of 0.1 percent from second quarter 2016. The attached tables provide a reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP measures. All earnings per share figures refer to diluted EPS.
“I want to thank the team for their strong execution in the second quarter, which drove broad-based improvement in Target’s performance. In particular, we are pleased that second-quarter traffic increased more than 2 percent, reflecting growth in both our store and digital channels,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target. “We continue to focus on our long-term strategy, as we work to transform every part of our business and build an even better Target that will thrive in this new era in retail. While our recent results are encouraging, we will continue to plan prudently as we invest in building our brands, our digital channel, the value we provide our guests and elevating service levels in our stores.”
Third Quarter and Fiscal 2017 Guidance
Target expects that both third quarter and fourth quarter 2017 comparable sales growth will be within the range the Company experienced in the first and second quarters of 2017. The Company expects its full-year 2017 comparable sales growth will be in a range around flat, plus or minus 1 percent.
For third quarter 2017, the Company expects both GAAP EPS from continuing operations and Adjusted EPS of $0.75 to $0.95. For full-year 2017, the Company now expects GAAP EPS from continuing operations of $4.35 to $4.55, and Adjusted EPS of $4.34 to $4.54, compared with prior guidance of $3.80 to $4.20. The 1 cent difference between the full-year guidance ranges for GAAP EPS from continuing operations and Adjusted EPS is due to the income tax matters excluded from Adjusted EPS in the first half of the year.
Third quarter and full-year 2017 GAAP EPS from continuing operations may include the impact of additional discrete items which will be excluded in calculating Adjusted EPS. The only additional discrete item of which the Company is aware is a possible net benefit from income tax matters not related to current period operations in an amount that cannot presently be estimated.
Second quarter 2017 sales increased 1.6 percent to $16.4 billion from $16.2 billion last year, reflecting a 1.3 percent comparable sales increase combined with the benefit from sales in non-mature stores. Comparable digital channel sales grew 32 percent and contributed 1.1 percentage points to comparable sales growth. Segment earnings before interest expense and income taxes (EBIT), which is Target’s measure of segment profit, were $1,114 million in second quarter 2017, a decrease of 10.3 percent from $1,241 million in second quarter 2016.
Second quarter EBIT margin rate was 6.8 percent, compared with 7.7 percent in 2016. Second quarter gross margin rate2 was 30.5 percent, compared with 30.9 percent in 2016, reflecting increased digital fulfillment costs and the Company’s efforts to improve pricing and promotions. Second quarter SG&A expense rate was 20.6 percent in 2017, compared with 20.1 percent in 2016, driven by higher compensation costs, primarily due to increased bonus expense, and impairment losses resulting from planned or completed store closures and supply chain changes partially offset by the benefit of the Company’s cost-saving efforts.
Interest Expense and Taxes from Continuing Operations
The Company’s second quarter 2017 net interest expense was $135 million, compared with $307 million last year. The decline was primarily driven by a $161 million charge related to the early retirement of debt in second quarter 2016, combined with the benefit of lower debt balances in second quarter 2017.
Second quarter 2017 effective income tax rate from continuing operations was 31.4 percent, compared with 33.6 percent last year. The decrease was primarily due to the net tax effect of the Company’s global sourcing operations.
Capital Returned to Shareholders
In second quarter 2017, the Company returned $627 million to shareholders, which consisted of:
Dividends of $331 million.
Repurchases of 5.6 million shares of common stock at an average price of $52.45, for a total investment of $296 million.
As of the end of second quarter 2017, the Company had approximately $4.1 billion of remaining capacity under its current $5 billion share repurchase program.
For the trailing twelve months through second quarter 2017, after-tax return on invested capital (ROIC) was 13.8 percent, compared with 15.8 percent for the twelve months through second quarter 2016. Excluding the net gain on the sale of the pharmacy and clinic businesses, ROIC for the trailing twelve months through second quarter 2016 was 13.7 percent. The year-over-year improvement in second quarter 2017 primarily reflected the benefit of a lower base of working capital partially offset by the impact of lower profits. See the “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” section of this release for additional information about the Company’s ROIC calculation.
Second quarter net earnings from discontinued operations were $1 million, compared with net earnings of $55 million last year. Second quarter 2016 net earnings from discontinued operations primarily reflected tax benefits from investment losses in Canada recognized upon court approval of Target Canada’s liquidation plan.
Conference Call Details
Target will webcast its second quarter earnings conference call at 7:00 a.m. CDT today. Investors and the media are invited to listen to the call at investors.target.com (hover over “company” then click on “events & presentations” in the “investors” column). A telephone replay of the call will be available beginning at approximately 10:30 a.m. CDT today through the end of business on Aug. 18, 2017. The replay number is 800-238-0563.
Statements in this release regarding third quarter, fourth quarter and full-year 2017 earnings per share 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 Jan. 28, 2017. 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.
In addition to the GAAP results provided in this release, the Company provides Adjusted EPS for the three and six-month periods ended July 29, 2017 and July 30, 2016. The Company also provides ROIC for the twelve-month periods ended July 29, 2017, and July 30, 2016, which is a ratio based on GAAP information, with the exception of adjustments made to capitalize operating leases. Operating leases are capitalized as part of the ROIC calculation to control for differences in capital structure between the Company and its competitors. Adjusted EPS, capitalized operating lease obligations and operating lease interest are not in accordance with, or an alternative for, generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (GAAP). Management believes Adjusted EPS is useful in providing period-to-period comparisons of the results of the Company’s ongoing retail operations. Management believes ROIC is useful in assessing the effectiveness of its capital allocation over time. The most comparable GAAP measure for adjusted diluted EPS is diluted EPS from continuing operations. The most comparable GAAP measure for capitalized operating lease obligations and operating lease interest is total rent expense. Adjusted EPS, capitalized operating lease obligations and operating lease interest should not be considered in isolation or as a substitution for analysis of the Company’s results as reported under GAAP. Other companies may calculate Adjusted EPS and ROIC differently than the Company does, limiting the usefulness of the measure for comparisons with other companies.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,816 stores and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals millions of dollars a week. For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom. For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit Target.com/abullseyeview or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.