Will Target’s Growth Threaten Walmart’s Market Dominance?

Joel Eisenberg

In terms of department store market share, Target has surpassed Walmart and remains the most profitable such chain in the U.S.

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Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Corporate.Walmart.com, Yahoo Finance, Google.com, Wikipedia.org, Fortune Global 500, Investors.Target.com, Corporate.Target.com, Corporate.Walmart.com, SupermarketNews.com, and Investopedia.com.

Introduction

In March, 2022, Corporate.Target.com published a press release titled “Target Announces Investments to Drive Long-term Growth,” which in part disclosed plans for 30 new brick and mortar store openings in the current calendar year.

As excerpted from the press release: Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today announced its plan to invest up to $5 billion to continue scaling its operations in 2022. Target will invest in its physical stores, digital experiences, fulfillment capabilities and supply chain capacity that further differentiate its retail offering and drive continued growth. “Years of investment in our team and business have driven our sales beyond $100 billion and positioned Target to meet the needs of our guests no matter how they choose to shop,” said Michael Fiddelke, chief financial officer, Target.

This is positive news for the venerable retailer, which has faced its share of online rumors to the contrary during the pandemic era.

In February of this year, NewsBreak published my article, “Are Costco, Home Depot, and Target Permanently Closing Their Doors in Your Neighborhood?” The article was timely, as a targeted Google search verified the sheer number of rumors then being spread about our nation’s largest retailers. In all events, there were valid reasons for the concerns.

”Are Costco, Home Depot, and Target Permanently Closing Their Doors in Your Neighborhood?” excerpted a Yahoo Finance story, “All the Target Stores Set to Close in 2021.” See here for that story in its entirety.

Referencing the excerpt I included in my article: In 2020, department store Target announced a massive restructure that would see many of its stores close their doors or convert into Kmart. It came after parent company Wesfarmers deemed the current business model “unsustainable” in May last year. “For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue,” Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said in a statement at the time.

Though news of Target’s 2022 expansion plans and potential $5 billion announced investment was announced shortly following the publication of my piece, that news was a welcome jolt to a beleaguered industry.

Whereas Walmart remains the largest retailer in the country in terms of number of locations and revenue, Target remains more profitable, as we will see below. Considering Target’s new inroads into other revenue-generating activities, do economists believe they will ultimately challenge Walmart’s dominance in other financial departments?

Let us explore further.

Target and Walmart, 2022

For comprehensive overviews of each company, see Target’s Wikipedia page here, and Walmart’s here.

According to the Fortune Global 500, in their latest report published in August, 2021, Walmart‘s revenue was nearly $559.5 billion in 2020, with profits of $13.5 billion. SupermarketNews.com reported a 2.4% increase in revenues for 2021 to $572.25 billion.

Walmart will not be approached by Target as it regards those numbers due to the number of locations of each. Walmart’s corporate website states the following: Today, Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. We employ 2.3 million associates around the world — nearly 1.6 million in the U.S. alone.

Over 5000 Walmart stores operate in the U.S. Target’s corporate website lists 1931 U.S. locations.

According to Investors.Target.com, however, 2021 revenues were $106 billion, with 35% growth from 2019. For perspective, according to Investopedia.com, in a direct comparison of the two companies from nearly two and a half years ago based on a ten-year net profit average: When comparing the two from a financial perspective, Target is slightly more profitable than Walmart. Walmart's lower gross profit margin and net profit margin can be explained by its everyday low price strategy which features a low price guarantee policy.

Economists largely believe current trends indicate Target will continue to expand and increase its profitability — likely also increasing its profit margin over Walmart — though due to Walmart’s present size it would be hard-pressed to catch up in terms of total revenue.

Conclusion

Both companies remain strong for the current year, though Target appears to be increasing its rate of profitability at a faster rate than Walmart.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA
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