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Barron's Is Target Back? CFO Says Yes, but Wall Street Is Still Torn.

After a year of lackluster growth, is Target finally staging a comeback? The retailer’s management team thinks the query merits a resounding “yes.”

Investors are grappling with the same question after Target’s upbeat earnings report and investor day, where the company unveiled a series of initiatives aimed at putting the company back on the offensive—and nabbing market share back from competitors.

“We’re not satisfied with our top-line performance this year. We won’t be and we shouldn’t be satisfied until we return to growth,” says Michael Fiddelke, Target’s chief financial and operating officer, in an interview with Barron’s. “We’re excited to have a plan that gets to growth in 2024.”

Part of Target’s plan hinges on its ability to coax back shoppers who have turned to other retailers. Target’s new paid membership, dubbed Target Circle 360, aims to do just that. The program, unveiled Tuesday morning, is already drumming up buzz over its ability to compete with’s Prime and Walmart’s Plus memberships. The company also plans to open new stores and grow its private-label brands.

“There’s only one path to sustain profit growth in retail and that is top-line growth,” says Fiddelke. “The reason we’re excited about Target Circle is that we think it will contribute to growth, and with that growth comes improved profitability.”

For a promotional price of $49 a year, members will receive unlimited same-day delivery for orders over $35, free two-day shipping, extended return windows, and other perks such as access to preferred shoppers who can shop for you. After a promotional period, Circle 360 will cost $99 a year—on par with Walmart+ ($98 a year) and lower than Amazon Prime ($139 a year).

“In our view, Target Circle loyalty program improvements are compelling and can add traffic, transactions, and incremental engagement opportunities,” writes Oliver Chen, an analyst at TD Cowen, in a note Tuesday.

With Circle 360, Target is making even more inroads in personalizing the shopping experience—an approach the company leaned into during the pandemic with the advent of curbside service, which has since expanded to include drive-up returns and drive-up Starbucks.

These efforts aren’t easy to roll out and can be labor-intensive, Fiddelke said. But the payout is worth it, he notes. Drive-up users alone typically spend up to 30% more than the average shopper and drive-up sales grew by double-digits in the fourth quarter, he says.

“We look at it as we’re meeting a need that, if we meet it, we can win more of your share of wallet,” Fiddelke says.