Its logo may still be a bull's-eye, but Target hasn't hit one in a while.
So it's no wonder that the retailer's shares are rallying, recently up more than 7 percent in midday trading, in the wake of its latest earnings report, which showed its first same-store stales increase in four quarters and earnings that outpaced analysts' expectations.
While these latest results suggest Target may be beginning to recover under new CEO Brian Cornell, a former PepsiCo executive who has been at the helm for 99 days, analysts' expectations will no doubt ratchet higher in the months ahead, especially given that the critical holiday season is upon us.
"We have spent a lot of time making sure we are clear about the strategy," Cornell told CNBC in an interview at one of Target's Minneapolis stores. "What does the guest expect from Target. How do we get that 'Tarjay' back."
Cornell's strategy has been to focus on Target's "signature" categories, which include baby and children's products, home furnishings and style. He also is intent on improving the companies' Canadian operations, which have been a drag on its earnings, and its online presence, which critics say lag its rivals.
"[Target] needs to get back to the 'Tarjay,' it's been awhile since we have had that perception," said Bob Drbul, equity analyst at Nomura, in an interview conducted ahead of the retailer's earnings report.
Take YouGov's BrandIndex, it recently gave Target a "buzz" score of 14. The score measures daily brand perception among consumers. Last December, prior to word of Target's credit card data breach, the retailer's score was at 28. After the breach, its brand perception sunk as low as -32.5, on the index's -100 to 100 scale, where zero is neutral.