UPDATE 1-Target same-day delivery, store pick-up demand fires up holiday quarter sales

·2 min read

(Adds details on profit estimates, share movement)

March 2 (Reuters) - Target Corp on Tuesday reported a 21% jump in holiday quarter revenue, much higher than analysts' estimates, as same-day delivery and store pick-up services helped fulfill robust demand for home goods, toys and groceries during the pandemic.

Over the past year, Target and Walmart Inc consistently performed better than Wall Street expected as the deep-pocketed national retail chains amped up their online businesses during the health crisis and swiped market share from smaller rivals who rely more on their physical stores.

Still, Target held back on providing sales and earnings forecast for fiscal 2021, citing continued uncertainty over consumer shopping patterns amid the health crisis.

The retailer's shares, which have gained over 80% in the year, were trading largely flat before the bell.

The company's comparable sales rose 20.5% in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, comfortably beating analysts' estimates for a 16.4% rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales through its same-day deliveries and store pick-up services surged 212%, as consumers sought quicker ways to get their online purchases and government stimulus helped carry holiday spending momentum into January.

Analysts have, however, warned that the torrid pace of growth would be difficult to repeat in the coming months, as COVID-19 vaccine rollouts raise the promise of a return to something closer to pre-pandemic life.

Target's comparable sales for the full year are expected to slip 3.6%, according to Wall Street brokerages. In February, Walmart said it expects sales growth to slow this year, leading to a fall in its shares.

Total fourth-quarter revenue for Target rose 21.1% to $28.34 billion, beating average estimates of $27.48 billion. Full-year sales rose by over $15 billion, larger than the combined growth of the last 11 years.

Net earnings surged 65.6% to $1.38 billion. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $2.67 per share, beating estimates of $2.54.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)