Target Beats Estimates and Guides Higher, but Shares Slide

Target logo
Target logo

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) reported fourth-quarter and fiscal-year results before markets opened this morning.

The big-box retailer posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter of $1.65 and $22.73 billion in revenues. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.49 on revenue of $21.29 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.48 and $22.69 billion in revenue.

For the full fiscal year, Target reported adjusted diluted EPS of $4.76, up from $4.41 in 2011 and a penny above the consensus estimate. Full-year revenues totaled $73.3 billion, compared with a consensus estimate of $73.16.

On a GAAP basis, Target's diluted EPS for the quarter totaled $1.47 and full year EPS totaled $4.52.

The company's CEO said:

We're pleased with Target's fourth quarter performance, particularly in the face of a highly promotional retail environment and continued consumer uncertainty.

Target's EPS for the quarter came in near the low end of the company's guidance, but first quarter guidance for adjusted EPS of $1.10 to $1.20 is sharply above the consensus estimate of $1.05. For the full year, Target forecasts adjusted EPS of $4.85 to $5.05, compared with a consensus estimate of $4.82.

Same-store sales rose just 0.4% in the fourth quarter, while full-year same-store sales rose 2.7%. Gross margins fell again in the fourth quarter, from 28.4% in 2011 to 27.8% in 2012, following a 0.2% decline in the third quarter.

Shares were down 2.7% in premarket trading, at $62.35 in a 52-week range of $54.68 to $65.80. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $70.20 before today's results were announced.

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