Target shoppers unfazed by Walmart’s EDLP emphasis

A moderately better than expected 5.3 % September same-store sales increase was driven by broad-based gains in most categories nationwide, Target reported on Thursday. The increase was due almost entirely to larger average transaction sizes and came on top of a prior year increase of 1.3%. The company also noted that customer traffic as measured by comparable-store transaction increase a little more than 1%.

“We’re very pleased with our September comparable-store sales, which were somewhat ahead of our expectations,” said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel. “We experienced strong sales results throughout the month and across a broad array of merchandise categories, demonstrating Target’s ability to deliver on both sides of our ‘Expect More. Pay Less’ brand promise and generate strong financial performance even in this soft economic environment.” 

As has been the case throughout the year, September comps in food increased in the mid teens and comps in the household essentials area were also up more than the company average. The beauty category led the way and experienced a high single-digit increase, while comps in apparel and accessories were up more than the company average. Double-digit increases were reported in the intimate, hosiery and performance apparel segments followed by a high single digit increase in kids’ apparel. Jewelry and accessories were the weakest performers.

In the hardlines area, comps decreased in the low single-digit range, with the strongest performance in toys and the softest performance in electronics. Comps in home furnishings and décor increase in the low single-digit range, led by a mid single-digit increase in domestics, with the softest performance in decorative home area.

Aside from the solid overall 5.3% gain, Target has to feel good that every region of the country reported a healthy increase in comps and that inventory levels were described to be in very good condition. For the October reporting period the company is expecting more of the same with a forecast calling for a comp increase in the low to mid single-digit range.

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