Target hasn't had much to brag about over the past few months. But as it gears up for the critical fourth quarter, the savvy-yet-stylish retailer is hoping to tap into the same magic that helped lift its comparable sales last holiday season, while plugging some of the holes that have sprung up in 2016.
After generating more than two straight years of same-store sales gains, that metric flipped negative in the three months ended July 30, as fewer shoppers visited its stores. Target at that time lowered its guidance for the fiscal year, citing a "difficult" retail environment.
While sales across the industry remain challenging, particularly in categories like apparel, a flurry of holiday forecasts are calling for growth between 3 and 4 percent. The National Retail Federation predicts revenue will grow at a faster clip in November and December, rising 3.6 percent.
Like the NRF, Target CEO Brian Cornell pointed to a healthier economic backdrop — which includes low fuel prices and more robust employment — as two signs that shoppers will be ready to spend this holiday.
"I think we're entering the holiday season with a consumer who is feeling good about the state of play," Cornell said.
Here are six ways that Target plans to beat the competition.