Target's Earnings Fall, Stock Slips

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Similar to other big retailers in the quarter, Target ( TGT) tempered Wall Street expectations for the rest of the year, blaming soft consumer demand.

Target reported second-quarter net earnings of $611 million, or 95 cents a share on Tuesday. Profit fell 13%, while earnings per share fell 10.4% from the year-earlier quarter. Target's adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share excluded the earnings dilution related to its Canadian segment. Analysts, on average, expected the company to earn 96 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

Sales rose 4% to $17.1 billion, missing analysts' projections of $17.3 billion.

Sales for the U.S. segment inched just 2.4% higher to $16.8 billion over the prior year's quarter. Comparable-store sales rose 1.2% in the quarter.

Shares were falling 1.4% to $66.98 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

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"Target's second quarter financial results benefited from disciplined execution of our strategy and strong expense control, offsetting softer-than-expected sales," Target's Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in the earnings release. "For the balance of this year, our U.S. outlook envisions continued cautious spending by consumers in the face of ongoing household budget pressures. In Canada, where we are only five months into our market launch, we continue to learn, adjust and refine operations in our existing stores as we prepare to open another 56 stores by year-end."

The Minneapolis-based discount retailer tempered earnings expectations for the rest of the year. The company expects adjusted earnings for the third quarter to range between 80 cents and 90 cents a share and GAAP earnings to range between 55 cents to 65 cents. Wall Street is expecting the company to report earnings of 88 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

For the full year, Target said adjusted EPS will be near the low end of its previous guidance of $4.70 a share to $4.90 a share. GAAP earnings are expected to be approximately 95 cents lower than adjusted EPS, due to earnings dilution related to the Canadian segment, and losses related to the early retirement of debt offset by accounting gains related to the sale of its consumer credit card receivables portfolio to TD Bank ( TD) in March.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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