The coronavirus is raging and the Minneapolis retailing giant has been caught in the storm, with investors pushing its shares down 24% year to date.
Yet the company said this week that it was looking at a strong 2020 as consumers’ dash for essentials benefits Target’s heavily consumer-staples-focused business.
Meanwhile, the long-term outlook is murky. The company’s withdrawal of financial guidance, while not immediately a negative, makes investors uneasy.
Plus, Target’s holiday quarter was well below expectations, with same-store-sales rising 1.5%.
Target also said it was pushing out some of its store remodelings and openings to 2022 from 2020, pushing back the timeline for what is supposed to be improved sales growth.
But for 2020, analyst estimates are largely unchanged from where they were before the virus hit the U.S.
While most companies are looking at revenue and earnings contractions, Target is looking for same-store-sales and earnings-per-share growth of 2.9% and 7.2%, respectively.
Longer term, the rough Q4 2019 caused investors’ long-term concern, even regarding a company that has recently shown its ability to get back to growth through a strong digital sales strategy.
Investors looking for a quick trade may want to consider Target. Longer-term investors will want to be careful, although the poor fourth quarter may just be a blip on the radar.
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