Nov 19, 2014
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Target Corp quarterly sales beat estimates

Nov 19, 2014

Target Corp, the fourth-largest U.S. retailer, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as U.S. same-store increased for the first time in four quarters.

Target shares rose 3.4 percent to $67.78 premarket.

U.S. same-store sales rose 1.2 percent, double the rate that analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected.

Last week Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest U.S. retailer, reported its first rise in U.S. same-store sales in seven quarters, helped by a drop in gasoline prices.

Target raised the lower end of its full-year adjusted earnings forecast range, but cut the top end.

The company now expects adjusted earnings of $3.15-$3.25 per share for the year ending January, compared with its previous forecast of $3.10-$3.30.

The forecast includes a pre-tax expense of $13 million, or 1 cent per share, related to the conversion of Target's payment cards to MasterCard chip-and-pin cards following a massive data breach during last year's holiday shopping season.

Target has also had to resort to price cuts to attract cash-strapped consumers and win back customers unsettled by the breach, which resulted in the theft of at least 40 million card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data.

The company said on Wednesday it had incurred net breach-related expenses of $158 million so far, including $12 million in the third quarter ended Nov. 1.

The upcoming holiday season will be the first under new CEO Brian Cornell, who took the helm in August.

Cornell said Target had also made improvements to its operations, pricing and assortment in Canada, where the company has struggled since entering the market last year.

Target opened 124 stores in Canada last year, its first retail store expansion outside of the United States.

The company's net income rose 3.2 percent to $352 million, or 55 cents per share.

Excluding items, Target earned 54 cents per share.

Total sales rose 2.7 percent to $17.73 billion. Sales in Canada increased 44 percent to $479 million.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 47 cents per shares on revenue of $17.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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