Target November sales comparison falls

AP News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2009 9:00 AM

Discount retailer Target Inc. said Thursday strong sales during the Thanksgiving weekend were not enough to offset weak sales during the earlier part of November, sending sales in stores open at least a year down 1.5 percent.

The drop was bigger than the 0.5 percent drop analysts were expecting. Target had predicted flat November sales in stores open at least one year. A year ago, the sales comparison fell 10.4 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year are a key measure of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones.

Necessities like health care products, food products, beauty and household, personal and baby products were the strongest sellers. Electronics were also popular, while entertainment products were weaker.

Apparel sales fell in the mid-single-digit percentage range, as strong women's apparel was offset by weaker jewelry and accessories sales.

Results in northern California, the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic states were stronger than the South, including Florida and Texas.

Target expects December results to be in line with November.

Retailers spread sales out during the holiday weekend, and Target said sales were stronger on Black Friday _ the popular shopping day the day after Thanksgiving _ than Saturday, the second day of its two-day sale.

The average transaction declined slightly during the month, offset by a higher number of transactions.

During the two-day sale, sales in stores open at least a year rose in the mid-single-digit percentage range.