Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) today reported that its net retail sales for the five weeks ended December 29, 2012 were $10,214 million, an increase of 0.8 percent from $10,138 million for the five weeks ended December 31, 2011. On this same basis, December comparable-store sales were essentially flat.
“December sales were slightly below our expectations, as strong results late in the month did not completely offset softness in the first three weeks," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. "Similar to November, profitability for December benefited from our continued focus on achieving an appropriate balance between price investments and driving sales, combined with thoughtful inventory management. As a result, we expect Target’s fourth quarter 2012 earnings per share will meet or somewhat exceed the low end of our prior guidance. Looking ahead to 2013, we will continue to focus on profitably growing Target’s market share by combining unique merchandise, convenience, value and an unbeatable guest experience across our stores, online and mobile channels.”
As a reminder, in Target’s third quarter 2012 earnings release the company indicated that it expected fourth quarter 2012 adjusted EPS of $1.64 to $1.74 and GAAP EPS of $1.45 to $1.55. The 19-cent difference between these ranges reflected the expected EPS impact of expenses related to the company’s Canadian market entry.
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MiscellaneousTarget’s current sales disclosure practice includes a sales recording on the day of the monthly sales release. Consistent with this practice, a new message was recorded earlier today. The next sales recording is expected to be issued on Thursday, February 7, 2013, which, as previously announced, will be our last monthly sales release. These recordings may be accessed by calling 866-526-7639. Text versions of our recordings are available on our Investor Relations website, www.target.com/investors, by clicking on “Monthly Sales Summaries.”Statements in this release related to expected earnings performance are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements speak only as of the date they are made and are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause the company's actual results to differ materially. The most important risks and uncertainties are described in Item 1A of the company's Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 28, 2012 and Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended July 28, 2012.