The discount retailer, which has sought to slash prices this year to better compete with rivals Walmart (WMT - Get Report) and Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) , said Thursday its second quarter results would come in above the high-end of its estimates for 95 cents a share to $1.15 a share. Target credited improved traffic and sales trends through the first two months of the second quarter.
"Target's recent progress reinforces our confidence and commitment to our strategy as we build an even better Target for tomorrow. Following better-than-expected results in the first quarter, we've seen additional, broad-based improvement in traffic and category sales trends in the second quarter, despite continued challenges in the competitive environment," said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target in a statement.
Shares rose 4.8% to $53.31.
But not everyone on Wall Street was upbeat on the results.
"The ongoing and increasingly rapid shift of consumer spending away from traditional retail channels remains a significant watchpoint for all retailers and is relevant for Target given greater exposure to channels with high online penetration, including apparel, hardlines, and household essentials, and less grocery sales compared with larger big-box retailers," Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc. analyst Mark Astrachan wrote in a note. "We also remain skeptical about Target's ability to establish everyday price credibility longer-term, particularly in grocery, in the current retail environment given price competition from Walmart, Amazon (and Whole Foods), and discount retailers."
Still, he noted, the guidance boost "indicates early success of the company's investments into the business, including in price, labor, and digital," as well as in attracting millennial shoppers.
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