Target Corp. reported sluggish sales in the first quarter of 2023, a drop in net income and warned of continuing challenges in Q2, as the retailer faces both soaring crime at brick-and-mortar outlets and a drop in the volume of home deliveries.
Q1 comparable digital sales dropped 3.4%, versus a 3.2% rise in the year-earlier period.
Target said its digitally originated sales — transactions that can be attributed to its website and apps, including online purchases and buy online, pick up in store — fell to 17.5% of total sales from 18.2% in the comparable period of 2022.
Net income dropped 5.8% to $950 million from $1.01 billion in Q1 2022.
Organized retail crime
In a written statement, CEO Brian Cornell said the retailer expects that shrink will slash some $500 million from Target’s profitability in 2023.
“While there are many potential sources of inventory shrink, theft and organized retail crime are increasingly important drivers of the issue,” Cornell said. “We are making significant investments in strategies to prevent this from happening in our stores and protect our guests and our team. We’re also focused on managing the financial impact on our business so we can continue to keep our stores open, knowing they create local jobs and offer convenient access to essentials.”
Target ranks No. 5 in the Top 1000. The database is Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest North American online retailers by web sales.
Margins and inventory
First quarter operating income margin rate was 5.2% in 2023, compared with 5.3% in Q1 2022.
A decline in an operating income margin rate is generally seen as evidence of inventory discounting. Target announced in June that it would dramatically reduce inventory by slashing prices after supply-chain woes across the retail industry led to a surge in unsold goods.
Inventory at the end of Q1 was 16% lower than the year-earlier quarter. That reflects a more than 25% reduction in discretionary categories.
Target maintained its previous sales and profit outlook for the year.
For comparable sales in the second quarter, Minneapolis-based Target said it’s planning for a wide range of outcomes “centered around a low-single-digit decline,” according to a written statement accompanying the earnings report.
Target’s sober outlook for its fiscal second quarter, which began in late April, will do little to assuage worries about weakening U.S. consumer spending, said Adam Crisafulli, an analyst at Vital Knowledge.
“Target could have been worse, but it’s still not good,” Crisafulli said in a note to clients.
Q1 2023 Target earnings
For the three months ending April 29, 2023, Target reported:
- Revenue from sales of $24.95 billion, a 0.5% rise from the $24.83 billion in sales a year earlier.
- A 0.4% rise in the cost of sales to $18.39 billion from $18.46 billion in the comparable quarter of 2022.
- Net earnings of $950 million, a 5.8% drop from the $1.01 billion reported in Q1 2022.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.
Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding. Check back for more earnings reports.
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