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Target to Miss Profit Estimate

December comps are solid but were helped by discounting.
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reported a solid 5.1% jump in December same-store sales Thursday but said the results will translate into lower-than-expected earnings because of heavy discounting.

The retail chain expects earnings in the quarter ending this month to miss Wall Street's consensus earnings estimate of 94 cents a share. Target shares, which rose 39% in 2004, fell $1.07, or 2.1%, to $50.21 Thursday.

Specifically, Target sees continuing earnings up in a double-digit percentage from the 80 cents a share it posted a year ago.

Target previously forecast December comps of positive 3% to 5%. Overall, the company's sales from continuing operations rose 11.3% from a year ago to $7.55 billion.