Target quarterly sales rise again after historic year of COVID sales

Target's profits rose from $284 million in Q1 last year to $2.1 billion this year.
Publish date:

Shoppers are returning to their normal buying habits, as evidenced by Target's first-quarter earnings report. 

The Minneapolis-based retailer on Wednesday reported first-quarter comparable sales grew 22.9% on top of the 10.8% growth it saw last year.

And net profits grew from $284 million in Q1 last year to $2.1 billion in Q1 this year, which ended May 1, with Target noting in-store and digital traffic grew 17% during the first quarter. 

“Our performance in the first quarter was outstanding on every measure, and showcased the power of putting our stores at the center of our strategy," CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. "... Importantly, market-share gains of more than $1 billion in the first quarter, on top of $1 billion in share gains a year ago, demonstrate Target’s continued relevance with our guests, even as they have many more shopping options compared with a year ago.

Profits were driven by an increase in in-store and digital sales, with store comparable sales up 18% in Q1 on top of the 0.9% increase last year. 

Meanwhile, digital sales continued its spike, seeing sales grow by 50% in Q1, on top of the whopping 141% growth digital sales saw in 2020 as shoppers avoided shopping in store during the onset of the pandemic.

The increase in digital sales was largely driven by Target's same-day services, like pickup, drive up and delivery, which grew more than 90% overall. Target's drive-up service saw the largest increase, with 123% growth. 

In total, more than 95% of the company's first-quarter sales were fulfilled by its stores. 

Target says sales growth was led by apparel, home and hardlines, with the retailer seeing a 36% growth in Target's own brands, which is the strongest it has ever recorded. 

Meanwhile, food, beverage and essentials also grew on top of last year's "historic" sales numbers when shoppers were stocking up on goods — and all that toilet paper — early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Target notes that Mother's Day this year was among the strongest in years, showing shoppers continue to "seek joy and celebration."

Follow Bring Me The News on LinkedIn

"Our multi-category portfolio positioned us well to meet guests' pent-up demand for newness and differentiation as they celebrated both big moments and everyday life," an infographic notes

And Target expects strong sales to continue this year. 

“Given the trust we’ve built with our guests quarter after quarter and our commitment to adjusting along with them to the ongoing shifts in the macro environment, we're confident in continued comp growth in the second quarter and through the remainder of the year, as well as a healthy full-year operating margin rate," he added. 

Next Up

Flickr - mosquito skin - Jim STauffer

Mosquito levels remain low - but there's some bad news

Get ready to learn about Culex mosquitoes and West Nile Virus.

Dychaun Chew - South High School Facebook

Charges: Driver was going 55 mph, blew stop sign in crash that killed teen

High school sophomore Dychaun Lavonte Chew died after being hit.

Max Kepler

Twins' 8th-inning rally ruined in the 9th as bullpen woes resurface

The Twins scored five runs in the eighth before the bullpen unraveled in the ninth.

Flickr - 148th Fighter Wing - Pete Markham

Air National Guard: Don't be alarmed if you hear fighter jets

The 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth is doing some scheduled night flying.

Lauri Anne Deatherage

Charges: Man killed ex-wife because she got remarried

He sent videos explaining his decision to family members, charges state.


Bicyclist killed in crash with truck near Rochester

The truck apparently collided with the bicyclist near an intersection.

section foreman house wayzata

Minnesota's 20 newest additions to the National Register of Historic Places

The state preservation review board will soon consider additional properties for the National Registry, including a steamboat.

jason beckman booking photo June 22 2021

Charges: Man who killed SCSU professor had knocked to ask for help

The suspect had gotten lost and crashed, and told investigators he'd been having delusions.

Thighstop - news release photo

Amid wing shortage, chicken chain launches new chicken thigh meal deals

Prices for chicken wings have skyrocketed over the past year.


Legislature approves $220K bill for swimming lessons, lifeguard training

The funding would help at-risk and low-income children learn to swim, as well as address lifeguard shortages.



Target sales grew by $15B in 2020, more than past 11 years combined

The pandemic led to a historic year for the Minneapolis retailer.

target store

Target announces blowout 3rd quarter results

The retailer has seen business surge during the pandemic.

After Amazon, Target may be the biggest threat to struggling retailers

The Minneapolis retailer goes from strength-to-strength while others stagnate.

Members of Target's new loyalty program shop more often, spend more

Target is reaping the benefits since launching Target Circle.

Target store

Target sees huge rise in sales thanks to coronavirus, but profits hit

The retail giant saw big jumps in grocery and online sales, but clothing plummeted.


Target will close stores on Thanksgiving Day 2021 after great sales in 2020

The retailer saw "tremendous grow" in its Drive Up, Order Pickup and same-day delivery services.

Target store snow

Target's Black Friday deals will be for the entire month of November

Target says this lets shoppers they won't have to deal with Black Friday crowds during a pandemic to get good deals.

Target store

After bumper earnings, Target will accelerate new store openings

The retailer has revealed its plans for the next few years, which includes an investment in Minneapolis.