Target Withdraws Forecast

Target (NYSE:TGT) is putting some of its ambitious growth plans on hold as it focuses on the day-to-day realities of dealing with coronavirus outbreak.

The big-box retailer said Wednesday it will delay plans to remodel hundreds of stores, open new ones and offer fresh groceries and beer to curbside pickup. Target is also withdrawing its financial guidance for the first quarter and fiscal year because of the unpredictable business climate.

CEO Brian Cornell said the retailer will focus on a singular mission: providing food, medicine and other essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"None of us know how long this virus is going to last," he said. "We don’t know when Americans are going to go back to work. Obviously, it’s great to wake up this morning and see that the stimulus package has been approved, but we don’t know all the details. So it’s been really hard for us to say how long will this go on."

In order to minimize disruptions, Target will wrap up remodels already underway but won’t start new ones. It now plans to complete about 130 remodels in 2020, down from plans for about 300. It will open 15 to 20 new small-format stores, designed for dense city neighborhoods, rather than the 36 it expected.

It will delay the remodels and store openings until 2021 and put its addition of alcohol and fresh grocery items to pickup and drive-up services on hold.

TGT shares slumped $2.76, or 2.7%, in the first hour of trading Wednesday to $97.80