US consumer confidence ‘remains strong’

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Brian Cornell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Target Corporation.

Anjali Sundaram | CNBC

Target CEO Brian Cornell still thinks the U.S. consumer is strong and spending, despite fears that some shoppers may be pulling back with the threat of another economic recession looming. 

He told members of the media Wednesday morning after reporting quarterly earnings that blew past estimates: Target CFO “Cathy [Smith] and I —we meet with our banking partners, economists regularly, and as I have said for some time now, we continue to see a healthy consumer environment.” 

“Consumer confidence remains strong, there’s been a reduction in fuel prices which we think is important for consumers, unemployment remains low and wages are growing,” he went on. “We see a stable and healthy consumer environment visiting our stores and [web]site more often.” 

Bottom line, “we have a pulse of the consumer,” Cornell said, easing any investors’ worries on the issue. 

Target shares surged by 17%, following the stellar earnings report, to trade near $100 per share — a record high. 

Cornell also on Wednesday spoke to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, saying it adds “uncertainty and complexity” to planning the business. However, he said Target has already been receiving inventory from overseas to get ready for back to school and back to college, its second-busiest time of year, putting the retailer in “a great position from an inventory standpoint” ahead of the holiday season. 

— CNBC’s Courtney Reagan contributed to this reporting. 

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