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Target Saw Pickup in Sales Last Week

But the surge wasn't enough to pick up its December sales results.
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said it finished the holiday shopping season strong, but last-minute shopping wasn't enough to keep sales for all of December from tracking toward the low end of its guidance.

The statement is nearly identical to

one issued last week by rival discounter


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In a recorded sales update, Target said same-store sales growth at its flagship stores in the week ended Dec. 27 was running above the 7% high end of its previous guidance, while same-store sales growth for all of its units was running above its previous 6% top-end growth estimate.

For all of December, however, sales at the Target flagship and overall corporate stores were running toward the low end of its expected range.

Among the best-selling lines last week were domestics, households, baby products, pharmacy and entertainment. Weak-selling lines included clothing and home d¿cor.

A big wild card for many retailers this holiday season is the performance of its gift cards, the revenue on which isn't booked until the underlying money is spent. Target said gift-card sales were strong in December.

Target was recently up 28 cents, or 0.8%, to $38.94 on Instinet. Wal-Mart has added about 50 cents since issuing its release on Friday, closing Monday at $52.90.