Target Delivers a Mixed Bag in Third Quarter

Target reported third-quarter earnings before the bell on Thursday, in what was a mixed bag for the chain. For the period ended Nov. 2, Target posted adjusted earnings per share of $0.84, which beat analyst estimates for a $0.63-per-share profit. Factoring in costs related to Target's expansion into Canada, its profit for the quarter was $0.54 per share. Revenue increased 2% to $17.25 billion, up from $16.9 billion in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $17.36 billion in the period.

The retailer's same-store sales were also disappointing. Target's sales at stores open at least a year grew just 0.9% in the third quarter, which is particularly concerning ahead of the all-important holiday shopping period. As a result, Target lowered its full-year earnings guidance. The retailer now expects adjusted earnings of $4.59-$4.69, down from Target's previous forecast of full-year earnings in the range of $4.70-$4.90. The stock was down as much as 4% in early trading on the news.

Target, which operates 1,919 bull's-eye branded stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, is viewed as a bellwether of consumer spending. This is particularly true as investors look to the looming holiday shopping season. Target plans to get a jump on the holidays by opening its stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year.


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