Target Pulls Financial Outlook Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Demand

Target said it was withdrawing its financial outlook and cutting back on plans to remodel stores as it responds to “unprecedented” customer demand in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Target said it has been experiencing “unusually strong traffic and sales” and has adjusted the timing of strategic initiatives as a result.

“We are prioritizing the work that’s in front of us to support our team, store operations, and supply chain as families across the country rely on Target for everything they need in this challenging environment,” chairman and chief executive officer Brian Cornell said in a statement.

Target had announced a program to remodel about 300 stores in 2020. The company is cutting that number to about 130 and removing the remainder until next year.

The company said it saw a surge in traffic and sales beginning in mid-March. Month-to-date, comparable sales are up more than 20% over last year. Comparable sales for February were up 3.8%. Comparable sales in its essentials and food and beverage segment were up more than 50%.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve experienced an unprecedented surge in traffic and sales as guests rely on our stores and same-day services. Ensuring we can take care of our team and deliver for the millions of guests who are counting on us remains our top priority,” Cornell said.

The company also raised its hourly wage for full-time and part-time workers in its stores and distribution centers by $2 per hour until at least May 2. It is also offering paid leave for workers who are 65 or older, pregnant, or have underlying medical conditions.

“It’s become very clear that we need to be disciplined about making sure our stores and supply chain is focused on serving our guests without any unnecessary distractions,” Cornell said. “We’ll need to prioritize the flow of food, medicine, and other essentials for the foreseeable future.”

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coronavirus, financial outlook, Target