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Target sales up 17% this holiday season, coinciding with the wave of online shopping

Target on Wednesday reported a 17.2% increase in relative sales for the holiday season after its online sales more than doubled due to its fast-delivery features and increased demand for home products, electronics and cosmetics.

The bulk of the growth of those sales came through home delivery services within 24 hours of ordering and receiving ready-made orders from stores, as the company was investing heavily in developing these services during the Covid-19 epidemic crisis.

Retail giants such as Target and Walmart have used the disruption caused by the global health crisis as an opportunity to seize market share from smaller competitors who sell in their traditional stores and are struggling to survive the pandemic crisis.

In December, Target sold 150 products via in-store delivery services, more than four times the number it sold a year ago during the same period.

The increase in sales came as retailers extended the duration of their promotional campaigns for the holiday season to prevent overcrowding in stores, instead of focusing the campaign on a few specific days as they used to before.

Target said it will keep its 1,900 US stores closed on Thanksgiving this year, repeating measures it took in 2020. The company added that January sales look strong, and analysts expect its relative sales for the fourth quarter, which includes January sales, to rise by 12.7%.

However, other analysts say Target missed a more optimistic prediction of 18-19% sales growth, which is close to the company’s growth in the third quarter. Target shares are down 1% in early trade after growing 60% over the past 12 months.

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