August 19, 2020

Target reports biggest sales surge in its 58-year history

Big-box US retailer Target has reported the biggest quarterly sales surge in its 58-year history, sending one of the clearest signals yet that shifts in consumer behaviour in the pandemic are widening the gap between the strongest chains and their weaker rivals.

Brian Cornell, chief executive, hailed Target’s performance as “extraordinary” as the company on Wednesday disclosed a 24 per cent year-on-year rise in second quarter like-for-like sales.

Such an upswing is remarkable for a retailer the size of Target, which opened its first outlet in Minnesota in 1962 and has since expanded to 1,900 stores across the US.

The stronger-than-forecast figures pushed shares in Target up 10.2 per
cent in morning trading in New York, giving a market capitalisation of
$75bn and putting them on track for a record closing high.

Target’s performance, driven by ecommerce but also supported by strong growth in stores, outshone robust numbers earlier this week from Walmart, which said comparable sales at its US business rose 9.3 per cent.

Customer demand had been strong across categories, Target said, as Americans spending more time at home bought goods from video games to garden supplies. Sales of electronics rose more than 70 per cent, home

TikTok not a national security threat, exec says

TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

TikTok doubled down on its message that it’s not a national security threat, reassuring users that it will be available for the foreseeable future.

“We’re not a national security threat and we’ve said that time and again,” Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok U.S., said in an interview that aired Wednesday on NBC’s Today show. “We have very strict data controls in place, we have an amazing team that’s building world class infrastructure.”

The Chinese-owned social media app is under pressure from the White House, which has vowed to ban the app if its parent company, ByteDance, does not sell or spin off its U.S. operations by November 12.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” President Donald Trump said in an executive order last week. 

Pappas has repeatedly denied the Trump administration’s claims that it transfers user data to China. The company said its U.S. user data is stored in the United States, with a backup

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