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Target expected sales to go down again – instead, they're probably going up

Target's happy right now.

Target had a not-as-bad-as-anticipated start to the year, struggling with its grocery department but getting boosts from Nintendo Switch and Victoria Beckham.

At the time, the Bullseye said it was expecting another decline in comparable sales for the second quarter of 2017.

But things have gone better than anticipated since then, to the point where Target is actually expecting a sales increase.

The company said Thursday morning it's seen "improved traffic and sales trends through the first two months of the quarter," and as a result should see a "modest" increase in comparable sales.

That's obviously something Target is excited about, with CEO Brian Cornell in the announcement saying it "reinforces our confidence and commitment to our strategy."

Target is one of the biggest employers in Minnesota. It has an estimated 26,694 workers in the state – behind only the Mayo Clinic, plus the state and federal governments, when it comes to number of employees.

What is that strategy?

Cornell highlighted a couple of recent Target moves, most of which were announced after a slump in the 2016 holiday period too.

One, the launch of next-day delivery service, which was first rolled out in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Red Wing and Stillwater. Cornell said they've been "pleased with initial results" of Target Restock, as it's called.

He also brought up the "success" of the new exclusive baby brand Cloud Island, which includes nearly 500 items. Using that as a launching point, Cornell mentioned Target's plans to introduce four new clothing lines in the coming months, plus another eight in the years after that. (Though Mossimo and Merona are being sacrificed as part of the strategic shift.)

Not mentioned in Thursday's announcement?

Target let go of 39 full-time workers from the Minneapolis headquarters in May (though they were able to look for other positions within the company), as part of an effort to revamp merchandising.

The company also opened a liquor store in its downtown Minneapolis location, and according to the Star Tribune, Target is also in the early stages of testing a curbside pick-up option.

And early this year, the company laid out a vision that included cheaper prices, revamped stores, a merging of their apps, and more small locations.

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