NEW YORK — Target is bursting into the critical holiday season with strong third-quarter earnings as the company pushes faster delivery and invests heavily in stores and on new fashion brands.
The retailer raised its expectations for the year and shares rose more than 12% Wednesday, striking an all-time high.
It was one of the largest one-day stock swings in the company's history.
Among the big highlights? Target's quarterly sales of clothing rose 10% year over year, helped by its intense focus on creating new store brands and making its clothing displays more visually appealing with mannequins. The recent fashion lineup includes a men's clothing brand called Goodfellow & Co. and a lingerie brand called Auden.
Its success comes at a time when department stores are struggling with its fashion assortments. Kohl's Corp. on Tuesday cut its full-year profit outlook after posting disappointing third-quarter results despite efforts to try to turn around its fashion assortment. Women's clothing was its worst performing area. J.C. Penney's latest report showed its continued malaise in clothing. In fact, its new CEO Jill Soltau last week said that the chain was bringing back visual merchandise displays after moving away from it under previous management. Macy's and Nordstrom are expected to report third-quarter results on Thursday.
"Everyone is chasing the same stuff, and it's not working," said Stacey Widlitz, chief international store hunger at SW Retail Advisors. "Target is taking the best of retail and putting it into the store. Or the worst of retail and making it better."