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Target announces blowout 3rd quarter results

The retailer has seen business surge during the pandemic.

For the second quarter in a row, Target has announced financial results that have blown away analysts' expectations.

The Minneapolis-based retailer announced that its comparable Q3 sales were up 20.7% compared to 2019, way ahead of the 11.2% predicted.

Traffic was up 4.5% while shoppers were spending on average 15.6% more, while its online sales grew a massive 155%, accounting for 10.9% of Target's overall sales growth.

Target has seen huge spikes in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the chain allowed to remain open during early shutdowns due to it being an essential retailer, and as a result it saw a surge in its grocery sales.

Since states have gradually reopened, it has seen its apparel sales come to the fore, and sales in its core categories are expected to soar as consumers modify their shopping habits for the holiday season as a result of the pandemic.

The latest results revealed that Target's curbside pickup service has seen a 500% increase in use, while home deliveries via Shipt have grown by more than 280%.

In a media call Wednesday morning, CEO Brian Cornell says Target has embraced the pandemic by expanding its options for loungewear, sleepwear and intimates during the pandemic.

"Apparel has been one of our strengths, [and] certainly from a market share standpoint, one of the real highlights for our business throughout the quarter, and we certainly see that continuing as we finish up the year," he said, per CNBC, which notes that Target has been picking up business from "struggling department stores and hard-hit mall staples" that are more susceptible to a fall in foot traffic.

It was also took steps to be more flexible with the items it had on its shelves, keeping its back-to-school offerings on shop floors for longer as many schools delayed their restarts due to COVID-19.

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