One area that has increased is electronics, in which the team has made early intentional investments in new and innovative items in the video game and mobile categories. Cornell -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thanks, Cathy. Digital sales grew 24% on top of 26% a year ago. Like our new small stores, we apply a custom approach to our remodel projects based on condition of each store and characteristics of the neighborhood. The outlook they got apparently wasn't agreeable.
So, I feel great about the investments we've made in wages, in hours, in seasonal hiring, and I think our stores are going to drive both our digital business and our store business throughout the fourth quarter. Cornell -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yeah. Fassler -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst Thank you so much. If I think about the state of our business today, we're seeing a great response to the eight new brands that we've launched. This was partially offset by the timing of some expenses and our cost-saving efforts. Basket sizes for delivery transactions are running six to nine times the average transaction across the four stores that have the service. You'll note that for each of these fulfillment options, our stores play the key role in delivering the experience.
Realistically, this is just two people singing a duet together. Consistent with the second quarter, our third quarter traffic, comparable sales, and overall financial performance were all stronger than our expectations. Tank released his third solo album entitled in May 2007. Do you want to be a part of it? Cornell -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thanks, John, and good morning, everyone. Distruction Boyz — Shut Up and Groove 6.
Mulligan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Well, I think clearly, as we do more fulfillment out of the store, we will add labor to support that. We bumped into each other recently, looked at each other and we both knew. Schick -- Consumer Edge Research -- Analyst Just to sort of follow up to that, is there any -- what would be the -- do you expect to backslide against any traction in key variables, comp, gross profit dollar comp? And unfortunately, we faced several natural disasters in the quarter, from hurricanes in Texas and Florida to wildfires in California. Total comparable sales are expected to be flat to up 2% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. As we ended the third quarter, we planned for our inventory position to be higher than a year ago, reflecting specific early intentional investments to support the launches of new items in electronics, along with inventory to support Hearth and Hand with Magnolia, which launched at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Wie bei Oath zeigen Ihnen unsere Partner eventuell auch Werbung, von der sie annehmen, dass sie Ihren Interessen entspricht. Fassler -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst Hi.
Going into this year, two of our highest strategic priorities in merchandising were, first, to invest in our exclusive own brand portfolio to further reinforce our differentiated positioning in the market; and second, strengthening Target's value proposition and positioning, making sure we're priced right daily every day, which would reinforce with the thoughtful, meaningful promotions that resonate with our guests and support our brand. Our teams have reduced unproductive inventory, which has created room across our network for all the newness we are now delivering. We expect to see continued pressure on our gross margin rate in the fourth quarter, reflecting the cost of digital fulfillment combined with the impact of our work to ensure we are priced right daily for our guests. Investors thus shifted their focus to the busiest quarter of the year that coincides with the holiday shopping frenzy. We have a Drive Up service, which we just began testing at 50 locations in the Twin Cities. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode.
This album broke the record for the number of preorders in advance of its launch last week, and we've continued to see strong demand in sales since the debut. But as a preview, we're gonna be talking about the exact same suite of initiatives next year that we've been talking about this year. In fact, our new Herald Square and Tribeca locations are receiving multiple shipments a day from this facility. So, is your thinking on the expectation of a declining gross margin simply a factor of more business being done online each year and the cost of fulfillment associated with that, or are some of the new fulfillment options that you're introducing just somewhat more costly, and you're giving yourself room to absorb that pressure? We've seen a tremendous response to our new small formats that we've been opening up in new neighborhoods and on college campuses. Target Corporation Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call Nov.
This represents a change from the trend we've seen in recent quarters in which our inventory has declined, even as we've maintained a strong in-stock position. I think we've made a lot of progress in in stocks given our current capabilities, but we also said in order to really solve the problem, we need to fix some fundamental capabilities in our supply chain around speed, reliability, inventory placement. When these stores receive merchandise, they don't have the room or the time to unpack and store anything more than they need. And while both of those options are relatively mature, we continue to increase the amount of our digital volume handled by our stores. For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit or follow on Twitter.
So, that's an important part of what we're doing. Are you going to jump out of planes? Schick -- Consumer Edge Research -- Analyst Hi, good morning. So we feel very good about how the entire business is set to perform in the fourth quarter. You mentioned several times throughout the call, and frankly, throughout the year, that you are trying to take a conservative approach to planning, but you also mentioned -- and you also mentioned the strength and the confidence you have as this quarter that you just reported in the prior quarter happened in the traffic and the merchandising. Cornell -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yes. Beyond new stores, our team is quickly scaling up their ability to remodel existing locations, as we're rapidly growing the program from fewer than 30 stores in 2016 to more than 325 next year. So, now, while I hope it's clear that fulfillment and speed are huge areas of focus for the operations team, I want to be clear that's not our only priority.
This growth was driven by continued double-digit comp growth in electronics benefiting from newness, particularly in the video game and mobile segments. I think sitting here today, we feel very confident that we're making very good progress against the plans that we set out earlier this year. And while we're seeing steady improvement in frequency categories, these areas are facing some near-term headwinds from this year's investment to be priced right every day. Distruction Boyz — The Conductor 4. You mentioned more share being taken on the unit side. We entered the year with the confidence that we're making the right long-term investments in our business, and our results this year have only reinforced that confidence. Following their remarks, we'll open the phone lines for a question and answer session.