Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) today reported that its net retail sales for the five weeks ended March 31, 2012 were $6,427 million, an increase of 7.9 percent from $5,955 million for the five weeks ended April 2, 2011. On this same basis, March comparable-store sales increased 7.3 percent. “March sales were well above our expectations, reflecting a healthy underlying trend combined with the benefit of an earlier Easter and favorable weather this year," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. "We’re now planning for a revised first quarter comparable-store sales increase of 5 to 6 percent, reflecting a low to mid single-digit increase in our April comparable-store sales.”
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Updated First Quarter 2012 Earnings GuidanceAs a result of stronger-than-expected sales through March, the company currently expects first quarter 2012 adjusted EPS of $1.04 to $1.10, compared with prior guidance of $0.97 to $1.07. The company expects GAAP EPS of $0.96 to $1.02, compared with prior guidance of $0.88 to $0.98. The 8 cent difference between the updated ranges represents the EPS impact in the first quarter of expected expenses related to the company’s Canadian market entry slightly offset by the favorable resolution of income tax uncertainties. 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, May 3, 2012. 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 “Financial News” and then “Monthly Sales Summaries.” The statements in this release regarding expected sales and 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.