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Target's Sales Disappoint, Shares Slip

Target more than doubles its fourth-quarter profit, but its sales miss estimates, sending shares slipping.

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

saw its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled -- although its sales missed estimates, sending shares in Target falling in pre-market trading.

During the quarter, Target earned $936 million, or $1.24 a share, compared with $609 million, or 81 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts expected the retail discounter to earn $1.16 a share.

Target's sales rose nearly 4% to $19.7 billion, but missed Wall Street's forecast of $20.16 billion. The company's same-store sales inched up 0.6%.

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"In 2010, we expect our guest traffic trends and sales of discretionary categories to benefit from broader implementation of our new merchandise initiatives as well as a continued modest recovery in the economy, and believe Target will continue to gain profitable market share," CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

Shares of Target are slipping 69 cents, or 1.4%, to $49.95 before the bell.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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