Target (TGT +0.8%) threw new CEO Brian Cornell right into the frying pan with the company's Q2 earnings and guidance disappointing investors leading into today's earnings call.
Cornell just returned from Canada where he said operational changes are being made to tighten execution. Stocking, pricing, and assortment issues are all being addressed by Target.
Target's performance in Canada is a significant factor in the retailer's drop in guidance for full-year EPS.
Hardlines and food saw a positive comp in the U.S. during Q2, while the apparel and home categories were a drag.
Q3 trend looks better, says management. Consumers are focusing on the event (back-to-school, holiday) over promotions. Comps in the U.S. are trending positive QTD.
The wide range in gross margin guidance (29%-31%) leaves analysts befuddled. The shift to e-commerce is a margin drag that Target says it try to counter with favorable product mix.
Looking forward, digital and omni-channel strategies appear like they will be a major focus from Target for 2015.