Target November sales miss expectations

AP News
Posted: Dec 01, 2011 11:27 AM
Target November sales miss expectations

Target Inc. said Thursday that a key revenue figure rose 1.8 percent in November, falling short of Wall Street estimates, as the busy shopping weekend after Thanksgiving failed to lift revenue.

A strong November is important for retailers, who make up to 40 percent of annual revenue during the holiday shopping season over the last two months of the year.

The discounter's results could indicate consumers are still cautiously spending during the holidays. But other major retailers had stronger results. Macy's Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Limited Brands Inc. reported sales gains Thursday that beat Wall Street estimates.

Target said sales were strongest on the day after Thanksgiving, known as "Black Friday" when the chain rolled out "doorbuster" discounts and opened at midnight. But solid sales during that day weren't enough to boost overall results for the month.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel said results were near the low end of the Minneapolis company's expectations. It is predicting a stronger December, with revenue in stores open at least one year rising in the low- to mid-single digits.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a 2.8 percent gain in November revenue in stores open at least one year, which is a key gauge of a retailer's financial health because it excludes stores that open or close during the year.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 26 rose 3 percent to $6.19 billion. Food and beauty products continued to be strong sellers. But toy and movies declined.

Year-to-date, revenue in stores open at least one year rose 3.2 percent and total sales rose 4 percent to $53.72 billion.

Shares rose 4 cents to $52.74 in morning trading.