Target upgraded because of same-day delivery rollout, tax reform

Customers shop at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois.
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Customers shop at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois.

Target"s impressive holiday sales performance and recent share acceleration are only the beginning of a longer upward climb for the retailer, according to one Wall Street bank.

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With several top-line catalysts "on tap" in 2018, Target is set to add to its 13 percent rally this year, analyst Peter Benedict wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

"Key company-specific drivers include accelerated remodels, additional exclusive brand launches, and emerging convenience-oriented fulfillment options," Benedict wrote.

Target has said it plans to roll out same-day delivery to half its stores by early 2018.

"On the macro front, prospects for improved consumer spending following personal tax cuts provides a potentially significant additional layer of support for comps," the analyst added.

The analyst upgraded Target to outperform and bumped his price target to $85 from $75, implying 15 percent upside from Tuesday"s close.

Supporting Benedict"s bullish case, Target"s robust holiday sales climbed 3.4 percent, well ahead of an expected range of 0 to 2 percent in an age of growing competition from e-commerce giant Amazon. Benedict also noted that Target sales surged after the 2003 Bush tax cuts, implying another wave of improved same-store sales given the recent Trump tax reform.

"Target outlined plans at last year"s investor meeting to roll out twelve new exclusive brands across the company"s signature categories through 2018," Benedict said. "With eight brands launched in 2017 and more already rolling out thus far in 2018, Target is well on its way to achieving this goal."

Target shares closed up 2 percent Wednesday.

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