New York CNN Business  — 

Target sales surged last quarter as shoppers stocked up on goods and spent heavily online during the pandemic.

The retailer said Wednesday sales at stores open for at least one year grew 24.3% to $22.6 billion during May, June and July. That marked the strongest quarterly sales growth in Target’s history, sending the company’s profit soaring 80.3% to $1.7 billion last quarter.

Digital sales, including delivery and curbside pickup, were a highlight for the company, rising 195% during the quarter. Target said its stores fulfilled most of those online orders, rather than shipping from warehouses.

Target’s (TGT) stock rallied around 6% in pre-market trading after its strong results.

Target’s growth reflects how big box chains have thrived during the pandemic, despite store closures and bankruptcies that have battered clothing sellers, malls and others in the retail industry. Target was deemed an “essential” retailer and stayed open throughout the pandemic, offering groceries, household essentials, clothes, and other merchandise.

Walmart (WMT), which has also stayed open throughout the pandemic, said Tuesday that sales at US stores open for at least one year increased 9.3% last quarter.

Home improvement chains have reported sharp sales increases as consumers remodel their homes during the pandemic. Lowe’s (LOW) said Wednesday that sales at stores open for at least a year rose 35.1% last quarter, while sales at Home Depot (HD) jumped 25%.

The pandemic has widened the gap between these large chains and smaller players in retail, such as JCPenney (JCP)and Pier 1 (PIRRQ), which have filed for bankruptcy and are shuttering stores.

On Tuesday, Kohl’s (KSS)said sales last quarter dropped 23%.

So far in 2020, more than 6,000 stores have said they will permanently close, according to Coresight Research, a retail research and advisory firm. It anticipates closures will snowball and set a new annual record this year of as many as 25,000, breaking last year’s record 9,302 closures tracked by the firm.