Why Target Stock Jumped 10.5% in March

What happened

Shares of Target (NYSE: TGT) gained 10.5 % in value last month, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Big Red impressed investors with its fourth-quarter earnings report in early March that showed noteworthy progress on increasing store traffic.

So what

In the fourth quarter, comparable-store sales grew 5.3%, driven by traffic growth of 4.5% year over year.

What's more, the company said digital sales jumped 31% year over year in the quarter. That performance helped Target complete its fifth year in a row of 25% or more digital sales growth.

Digital shopping is also helping Target improve store productivity, as nearly 75% of digital sales in the fourth quarter were fulfilled by physical stores.

"We're very pleased with our fourth-quarter performance, which capped off an outstanding year for Target. Thanks to the dedication of Target's team, we delivered our strongest traffic and comparable sales growth in well over a decade, and our 2018 adjusted earnings per share set a new all-time record for the Company," said CEO Brian Cornell.

Now what

Management mentioned all sorts of things it's investing in -- infrastructure, enterprise data, analytics, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality -- to make shopping online at Target a "richer shopping experience" for customers' busy lives.

Cornell also said 2018 was about "acceleration and innovation," whereas 2019 will be about "adoption and scale." It seems management has laid the foundation for growth, and now the company is ready to take it to the next level.

As for guidance, management is calling for this year's comp sales growth in the low- to mid-single-digit range. Adjusted earnings per share should be in the range of $5.75 to $6.05, or increase about 9.5% year over year, at the midpoint of guidance.

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John Ballard has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.