They're on Target for the holiday shopping season, all right. The retailer crushed estimates and lifted forward-looking guidance as the stock took off in pre-market trading Thursday November 20.

Target ($TGT) is doubling down - and, then some - as it readies for Black Friday and beyond, as the big-box retailer prepares to take on e-commerce disruptors and their traditional competitors for the industry's busiest time of year. The company reports earnings Wednesday November 20 and analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS of $1.18; shares are up more than 69% heading into trading Tuesday. 

There are major seasonal spikes in play when it comes to Target's seasonal job postings, tracked above. Target sought, and then cut, about 10,000 seasonal workers at the holidays in 2018, and this year's trend has been gradual - compared to 2018. This year, seasonal postings hit an early 2019 low of about 750, and then Target put more than 8,500 more postings online over the course of the year. 

It appears as if peak job postings numbers were achieved in late October, about a month to go until the holiday shopping season kicked off in earnest, and have since slid a little bit - likely a sign of jobs being filled. 

There is still yet more to be optimistic about in Target's data - the retailer is not just hiring more seasonal staff - it's doing so, to support a growing number of stores. Over the last quarter, Target's store count rose just 1% - which isn't an enormous figure by any stretch, for a developed brick-and-mortar retailer - but it does accurately reflect Target's distribution as tracked in its annual 10-K filings. 

Our final image, below, tracks the Target stores by address nationwide - you can pinch and zoom through the map, as well as use the 'Play' button at bottom-right to view expansion over time. 

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. 

Further Reading: 

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