Target Is Crushing Same-Store Sales, Just Not in Its Stores

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Target  (TGT) - Get Report is proving that same-store sales don't have to be sales from the same physical stores, if that makes any sense.

The big-box retailer reported on Thursday that same-store sales over the past three months so far have surged amid a sharp increase in online sales as shoppers seek to limit time inside stores or avoid in-person trips outright amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In its fiscal first quarter, which began in early February, same-store sales rose by more than 7% from a year ago vs. a 1.5% gain in its fiscal fourth quarter, the company said, as a "mid-teens" percentage decline in store sales was more than offset by a near four-fold jump in digital sales.

In April alone, comparable digital sales have so far increased by more than 275% from a year ago. On a category by category basis, essentials like food and beverages significantly outperformed higher-margin items like apparel and accessories.

It all marks a dramatic shift in how consumers shop for goods - and what kinds of goods they shop for. It also highlights for analysts and investors exactly what same-store sales actually are, particularly since the sales are happening beyond Target's physical stores. 

Of course, Target stores are still open for business, and the company has continued to take great pains to ensure the safety of its customers and employees. 

On the employee front, Target announced on Thursday that it would extend its $2 an hour temporary pay increase for store employees, additional child care or backup care benefits and paid leave policy for older or at-risk members of its workforce until May 30.

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