Target’s digital sales fuel first-quarter sales gain, but at a hefty price

A pedestrian walks past a Target store in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

Target will report its first-quarter earnings Wednesday before the bell.

The big-box retailer’s stores have remained open across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, but the crisis has cut into its profits as Target’s labor expenses jumped and sales of higher-margin categories, such as apparel, dropped, the company said in April. 

Here’s what Wall Street is expecting, according to Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 40 cents, estimated
  • Revenue: $19.04 billion, estimated

Target CEO Brian Cornell said in late April that the retailer’s online sales surged, but he warned the company’s costs had risen, too, and would pressure first-quarter margins.

At the time, the company said it had already spent more than $300 million on coronavirus-related employee expenses, such as paid sick leave. It recently extended its $2 an hour temporary pay increase, for full-time and part-time hourly employees through July 4, along with additional childcare benefits and paid leave.

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