Target Corporation Reports Third Quarter Earnings

MINNEAPOLIS - November 16, 2022

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  • Comparable sales increased 2.7 percent, on top of 12.7 percent growth last year. 
  • Comparable sales growth was driven by 1.4 percent traffic growth and a 1.3 percent increase in average ticket. 
  • Category performance was led by growth in frequency businesses including Beauty, Food and Beverage and Household Essentials, which offset continued softness in discretionary categories. 
  • The Company saw unit share gains across all five core merchandising categories.
  • Third quarter operating margin rate of 3.9 percent improved meaningfully compared with the second quarter results, but fell far short of expectations. 
  • In light of an increasingly challenging environment, the Company lowered its topline and bottom line expectations for the fourth quarter. 
  • The Company announced an enterprise initiative to simplify and gain efficiencies across its business, representing an estimated cumulative savings opportunity of $2 to $3 billion over the next three years.
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Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today announced its third quarter 2022 financial results, which reflected continued sales and traffic growth in an increasingly challenging environment.

The Company reported third quarter GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $1.54, down 49.3 percent from $3.04 in 2021. Third quarter Adjusted EPS1 of $1.54 decreased 49.1 percent compared with $3.03 in 2021. The attached tables provide a reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP measures. All earnings per share figures refer to diluted EPS.

“In the third quarter, our business delivered comparable sales growth of 2.7 percent, and we saw unit share gains across all of our core merchandise categories. This performance demonstrates the durability of our business model which continues to serve our guests and drive loyalty despite the challenging economic environment,” said Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. “In the latter weeks of the quarter, sales and profit trends softened meaningfully, with guests’ shopping behavior increasingly impacted by inflation, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty. This resulted in a third quarter profit performance well below our expectations. 

While we’re ready to deliver exceptional value for our guests this holiday season, supported by the decisive inventory actions we took earlier this year, the rapidly evolving consumer environment means we’re planning the balance of the year more conservatively. We’re also taking new actions to drive efficiencies now and in the future, optimizing our operations to match the scale of our business and drive continued growth. The strides we have made in recent years to build a truly differentiated, guest-centered retail offering, punctuated by a balanced, multi-category portfolio, positions us well to navigate in any environment. Looking ahead, we remain laser-focused on delivering the best of Target to our guests, and continuing to invest in our long-term, profitable growth.”

Fiscal 2022 Guidance

Based on softening sales and profit trends that emerged late in the third quarter and persisted into November, the Company believes it is prudent to plan for a wide range of sales outcomes in the fourth quarter, centered around a low-single digit decline in comparable sales, consistent with those recent trends. Similarly, the Company is now planning a wide range for its fourth quarter operating margin rate centered around 3 percent.

Enterprise Efficiency

The Company announced today it was undertaking an enterprise-wide effort to simplify and gain efficiencies across its business with a focus on reducing complexities and lowering costs while continuing to support its team. The Company believes it can save a total of $2 to $3 billion over the next three years through this work. These savings will support the company’s investments in driving deeper guest engagement and long-term growth while also delivering on its profit goals. This opportunity is enabled by the rapid growth since 2019, in which Target’s total revenue has grown approximately 40 percent. In light of this growth, this effort is focused on fully leveraging the scale that’s been gained to best-position the Company to continue growing efficiently over time.

Operating Results

Comparable sales grew 2.7 percent in the third quarter, reflecting comparable store sales growth of 3.2 percent and comparable digital sales growth of 0.3 percent. Total revenue of $26.5 billion grew 3.4 percent compared with last year, reflecting total sales growth of 3.3 percent and a 9.5 percent increase in other revenue. Operating income was $1.0 billion in third quarter 2022, down 49.2 percent from $2.0 billion in 2021, driven primarily by a decline in the Company's gross margin rate.

Third quarter operating income margin rate was 3.9 percent in 2022, compared with 7.8 percent in 2021. Third quarter gross margin rate was 24.7 percent, compared with 28.0 percent in 2021. This year's gross margin rate reflected higher markdown rates, inventory shrink, and merchandise and freight costs, net of retail price increases, compared with last year.  Additionally, gross margin rate was pressured by increased compensation and headcount in our distribution centers and the costs of managing early receipts of inventory, with a slight offset from favorable category mix. Third quarter SG&A expense rate was 19.7 percent in 2022, compared with 18.9 percent in 2021. This reflected the impact of cost inflation across multiple parts of the business, including investments in hourly team member compensation, which was partially offset by lower incentive compensation.

Interest Expense and Taxes

The Company’s third quarter 2022 net interest expense was $125 million, compared with $105 million last year, reflecting higher average long-term debt and commercial paper balances.

Third quarter 2022 effective income tax rate was 21.6 percent, compared with the prior year rate of 22.1 percent, reflecting the rate impact of tax benefits on lower pre-tax earnings compared with last year.

Capital Deployment and Return on Invested Capital

The Company paid dividends of $497 million in the third quarter, compared with $440 million last year, reflecting a 20.0 percent increase in the dividend per share, partially offset by a decline in average share count.

The Company did not repurchase stock in the third quarter.  As of the end of the third quarter, the Company had approximately $9.7 billion of remaining capacity under the repurchase program approved by Target’s Board of Directors in August 2021.

For the trailing twelve months through third quarter 2022, after-tax return on invested capital (ROIC) was 14.6 percent, compared with 31.3 percent for the trailing twelve months through third quarter 2021. The decrease in ROIC was driven primarily by lower profitability in third quarter 2022. The tables in this release provide additional information about the Company’s ROIC calculation.

Webcast Details

Target will webcast its third quarter earnings conference call at 7:00 a.m. CT today. Investors and the media are invited to listen to the meeting at (click on link under "Upcoming Events"). A replay of the webcast will be provided when available. The replay number is 1-800-391-9853.


Statements in this release regarding fourth quarter comparable sales levels and operating margin rate, and the potential benefits from the enterprise initiative to simplify and gain efficiencies across the business 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 actions to differ materially. These risk and uncertainties include difficulties and delays in identifying and achieving the potential cost savings associated with the enterprise initiative to simplify and gain efficiencies and the other risks and uncertainties described in Item 1A of the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 29, 2022. 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 nearly 2,000 stores and at, with the purpose of helping all families discover the joy of everyday life. Since 1946, Target has given 5% 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.


1Adjusted EPS, a non-GAAP financial measure, excludes the impact of certain discretely managed items. See the tables of this release for additional information about the items that have been excluded from Adjusted EPS.


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