Target Cuts Fourth-quarter Profit And Sales Outlook After Disappointing Holiday Sales

By Ciara Linnane Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Target Corp. shares slid about 5% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the retailer cut its fourth-quarter sales and profit guidance following weaker-than-expected holiday sales. The company said same-store sales fell 1.3% in the November to December holiday period. Total sales fell 4.9%, including the impact of the Dec. 2015 sale of the company's pharmacy and clinic business. "While we were pleased with Black Friday sales, December digital sales growth of more than 40 percent and continued strength in our signature categories, these results were offset by early season sales softness and disappointing traffic and sales trends in our stores," said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target. The company is now expecting GAAP per-share earnings from continuing operations of $1.45 to $1.55, down from prior guidance of $1.55 to $1.75. Full-year EPS is forecast at $4.57 to $4.67, compared with prior guidance of $4.67 to $4.87. Same-store sales are expected to decline 1.5% to 1.0% for the quarter. Shares have gained 1.2% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 20.6%.

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