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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Target increased its comparable sales in 2020 by a whopping $15 billion — 19.3% more than 2019. That's also more growth for Target than the last 11 years combined.

The bottom line: Shares of Target finished at $173 on Tuesday, after the company released its fourth quarter earnings. That's up from around $94 a share at the start of the pandemic.

Driving the news: Target took advantage of a dramatic shift in pandemic shopping habits as its digital sales grew by $10 billion last year.

  • Under CEO Brian Cornell, the retailer was already making significant investments in turning stores into mini shipping hubs, helping boost ship-to-home capabilities, curbside pickup and in-store pickup.
  • Target pivoted quickly when the pandemic hit. An example: It closed the Starbucks shops it operates inside of stores and enlisted baristas to help pack and ship online orders.

Yes, but: While big-box retailers like Target and Walmart have benefited from the pandemic, small retailers and apparel stores have not.

  • While big-box retailers have been considered essential and faced fewer restrictions, smaller retailers have been forced to temporarily close in many states.
  • U.S. apparel sales fell 30% in the first nine months of 2020, according to Retail Dive, and that could lead to more bankruptcies and store closures.

What's ahead: Of Target's $15 billion in sales gains, $9 billion came from taking market share from competitors, the company said.

Target wants to build on that and will spend $4 billion in 2021 opening and remodeling stores. This includes 30 to 40 new stores a year, focusing on small urban formats in places like New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles.

  • After pausing a remodeling program during the pandemic, Target will revamp 150 stores before the holiday shopping season and plans to remodel 200 more next year.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Mar 2, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Volvo plans to sell only electric cars by 2030

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Volvo Cars said this morning that it plans to sell only fully electric cars by 2030, building on a prior target of having 50% of sales come from fully electric models by 2025.

Why it matters: It marks the latest target by several automakers to electrify their passenger lineups.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.