Target continues to thrive in whirlwind retail environment

A person with a cart walks up to a car.
A worker delivers an order to a drive-up customer at a Target store in August in Miami.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images 2020

Target's strong sales streak extended through the pandemic-shrouded holiday season, as shoppers snapped up everything from clothing to home goods.

The Minneapolis company reported Wednesday that its online sales surged 102 percent for the November and December period. Sales at its stores opened for a least a year rose 4.2 percent. Customer traffic rose 4.3 percent and average amount of sales per customer rose 12.3 percent.

The company continued to gain market share in all five its core merchandise areas. Sales were strongest in its home and furniture departments.

Like many retailers, Target was forced by the pandemic to come up with a new strategy for the holiday shopping season, steering customers online and away from its stores.

Target bean aggressive discounts early in October and closed their stores on Thanksgiving, the unofficial kickoff for the holiday shopping season for a number of years. Many retailers pushed traditional doorbuster deals online on Black Friday to manage traffic in stores.

For Target, the unprecedented maneuvers worked.

Online sales were fueled by Target's same-day fulfillment services, including order pickup, drive up and its delivery service called Shipt. Same-day services increased 193 percent during the November and December period. Of all the services, the drive-up service grew the fastest, the discounter said. Overall, about 95 percent of its overall sales were fulfilled by its stores during the two-month period.

Target said that it has decided it will also close its stores on Thanksgiving this year, citing in part its success in spreading out deals throughout the holiday season.

Target is slated to report its final fiscal fourth-quarter financial results next month.

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