Target Announced Plans To Go On A Major Spending Spree. And Their Stock Price Paid A Big Price Because Of It.

FILE - In this April 6, 2020 file photo, a customer wearing a mask carries his purchases as he leaves a Target store during the coronavirus pandemic, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Target extended its strong sales streak through the holiday quarter and grabbed business from rivals. The Minneapolis-based discounter reported Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it profit soared 66%, while sales jumped 21% for its fiscal fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Target surprised – and rattled – its backers by announcing plans to plunge ahead with increased spending over the next few years, raising its investment by 25% over last year’s capital expenditure numbers.

The strategy, delivered during Target’s “investor day” on Tuesday, was met with backlash on Wall Street with shares tumbling from $193 prior to the announcement to $173 by noon ET on Wednesday.

This eager spending worked before. In 2017, Target shook up its investors and then posted stronger earnings to support the strategy. An announced $7 billion investment in expenditures over a three-year span for upgrades and other initiatives was met with disdain. The stock fell 12.2% — a record one-day drop for Target at the time.

But ultimately, the move worked, with the company’s total sales rising 19.8% to $93.6 billion last year, according to a Yahoo! Finance story.

On Tuesday, Target said it would spend $4 billion per year for various initiatives. The amount was $2.7 billion in 2020, which followed the $3 billion spent in 2019.

Expanding the number of stores — 30 to 40 stores annually – is in the plan. The retailer said 150 stores would be revamped in 2021, growing to 200 remodels in each subsequent year.

“The bold investments planned for the next few years are designed to scale key capabilities across stores, fulfillment, and supply chain to drive deeper engagement with new and loyal guests, continued market share gains, and long-term, profitable growth,” Target CFO Michael Fiddelke said.

Among the bigger winners during the pandemic, Target is still seen as a longer-term “buy.”

According to Business Insider: “At Tipranks, 10 of the 12 analysts following the stock still call it a buy, with an average price target 16% ahead of where it is now.”

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