NEW YORK (
) -- Retailers reported mixed earnings results on Thursday, leaving the S&P Retail Index nearly flat.
saw its profit rose 11%, send shares gaining in afternoon trading.
The discounter reported a profit of $1.04 billion, or $1.45 a share, compared with $936 million, or $1.24 a share, a year ago. The most recent quarter's results included a tax benefit of 7 cents a share.
Sales grew nearly 3% to $20.3 billion, while same-store sales advanced 2.4%. This is in contrast to
, which earlier in the week reported its
Target attributes some of this sales gain to its roll-out of its discount loyalty in October. Its RedCard gives users a 5% discount on most purchases.
Wall Street expected a profit of $1.39 a share on revenue of $20.76 billion.
Target's credit card segment nearly quadrupled its profit to $151 million and receivables fell 15%to $6.9 billion.
Shares of Target are climbing 2.9% to $51.70.
fourth-quarter earnings topped expectations, but the value-priced department store issued a lackluster 2011 outlook.
The company also issued its first ever quarterly dividend of 25 cents a share and said it will increase its share repurchase program by $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion.
During the quarter Kohl's earned $493 million, or $1.66 a share, a 14% increase from $431 million, or $1.40 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue climbed 6% to $6.04 billion, while same-store sales rose 4.3%.
Wall Street was calling for a profit of $1.65 a share on revenue of $6.04 billion.
Looking ahead, Kohl's expects first-quarter profit in the range of 68 cents to 73 cents a share, and full-year earnings between $4.05 and $4.25 a share. Analysts predicted a profit of 71 cents and $4.37 a share, respectively.
The company partially attributed the weaker-than-expected outlook on higher sourcing costs.
reported a 13% decline in its fourth-quarter profit, but still managed to top Wall Street's estimates.
The flailing department store also
after a three-year search for a replacement.
Lou D'Ambrosio, previously head of
, a telecommunications company, succeeds Bruce Johnson, who had been operating as interim CEO since 2008. D'Ambrosio has been working with Sears over the past six months as a consultant to the board of directors on strategic and operational initiatives.
For the three-month period Sears earned $374 million, or $3.43 a share, compared with $430 million, or $3.74 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, Sears actually earned $3.67 a share, ahead of forecasts of $3.57.
Sears hadn't reported a profit since its first quarter.
Sears sales fell nearly 1% to $13.14 billion, but beat analysts' estimates of $12.97 billion. U.S. same-store sales slipped 1.5%, with namesake stores posting a 4.5% decline and the Kmart chain gaining 2.5%.
Shares of the stock are falling 5.5% to $82.45 in afternoon trading.
returned to profit in its fourth quarter, with price cuts and its private label brands boosting sales.
Still, shares of Safeway are falling 2.4% to $21.52 in midday trading.
During the quarter the grocer swung to a profit of $229.6 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.61 billion, or $4.06, in the year-ago period. The prior year profit was weighed down by a hefty goodwill impairment charge.
Safeway revenue edged up 1% to $12.8 billion, while same-store sales dipped 0.8%.
Analysts were calling for a profit of 58 cents a share on revenue of $12.45 billion.
"We are pleased with the improving trends in sales in 2010, driven by our price reductions, reinvigorated private label brands and targeted marketing. These trends have continued into the first quarter of 2011," Safeway Chairman, President and CEO Steve Burd said in a statement.
Safeway said it will release its 2011 outlook at its annual investor conference on March 8.
--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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