Target ($TGT) shares are down, but analysts are saying 'not for long.'
For starters, its store count is up 3.3% year-over-year, as Target continues to grow, at a time when other competitors are dialing down their physical footprint (more on that in a bit).
Analysts at JPMorgan Chase ($JPM) are bullish on the stock after a 14% slide over six months, saying that the Minnesota-based big-box retailer is about to get back to its old trajectory of early 2019, in part thanks to a robust holiday season. "They had little clearance post-Christmas," analysts noted in their February 28 note.
A growing percentage of Americans are turning to their phones to shop - so it's not just in-store deals that helped Target clear out so much inventory, which the JPM analysts noted. It saw Apple App Store Ratings increase 32% year-over-year, and has more ratings than WalMart's app - best of all, with a rating closing in on 4.7 (not shown), it's clear that Target's digital offerings are making consumers happier.
Analysts also think Targets is poised to benefit uniquely from the closure of retailers like Pier 1 and Macy's stores, as well.
Finally, job postings, which signals a small increase of just 6% year-over-year at Target. Still, the company's hiring has had a seasonal bend to it, and Target's job postings haven't taken a dip the way some other big retailers have experienced, signaling that the C-suite isn't sweating its next earnings print.
Still, there's another factor that JPM analysts love about Target, and they're hitching a $144 price target on the stock, making expectations of further gains on its "balanced" offerings and "cheap chic brand image." Target announces earnings March 3 and analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS $1.66.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.