How Target became the retail trade of the year, with the stock up nearly 90%

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Target CEO Brian Cornell appears on CNBC after ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the morning of November 28, 2014 in New York City.

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Target is far and away the best performing retail stock of 2019.

After reporting third-quarter results on Wednesday that crushed Wall Street’s expectation, Target shares are up nearly 90% this year. Target has topped even the strong performances of TJX Companies and Walmart, and is this year’s sixth-best performing stock on the S&P 500 index.

“We thought the market was already pricing in more of TGT’s progress, but today’s results (esp. margin expansion) came in well above even the most bullish expectations,” Goldman Sachs wrote in a note to investors.

Target also raised its profit outlook for the full year, ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season, while cutting the cost of handling online orders.

“Overall, we believe Target’s strategic transformation initiatives—price investment in everyday items, differentiating merchandising with new private brands, remodeling stores, and investing in digital and delivery, including Shipt—are resonating with consumers,” Telsey Advisory Group wrote in a note to investors.

Options trader Pete Najarian believes Target’s stock will climb even higher, saying on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” that he expects more strong revenue from the company’s investment in private label products.

“When you look at what’s going on with Target – whether it’s in the grocery space or the rest of the store, and there’s five different segments to their store in terms of revenue streams – they have private label everywhere and that is something that will be huge for them. That just helps and is something that’s going to kick in for Target in the future as well,” Najarian said.

– CNBC’s Michael Bloom and Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.

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