MINNEAPOLIS — One of Target’s biggest competitive advantages, the stores it has sprinkled across the country, accounted for a quarter of all online sales in November and December. Goods ordered online and picked up at stores surged 60 percent in that period.

Those sales, either picked up inside or through the company’s curbside pickup service, are key in Target’s campaign to hold online retailers like Amazon.com at bay, particularly during the competitive holiday season, because shoppers can dodge shipping fees.

“This performance demonstrates the benefit of placing our stores at the center of every way we serve our guests, including both in-store shopping and digital fulfillment,” Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said in a prepared statement.

Target Corp. said Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year increased 5.7 percent in the period, up from 3.4 percent a year earlier. The boost was mostly due to traffic. By category, the strongest growth was in toys, baby and seasonal gifts.

Comparable online sales climbed 29 percent.

The company also said Thursday that Chief Financial Officer Cathy Smith is retiring. Smith will continue until a successor is named. She’ll stay with the company as an adviser until May 2020.

Target maintained its forecast for full-year adjusted earnings in a range of $5.30 to $5.50 per share.

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