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Ahead Of Target's Quarterly Earnings

Ahead Of Target's Quarterly Earnings
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Discount-store operator Target Corp. (TGT: Quote) is slated to announce results for its second quarter before the bell, Wednesday, with market analysts forecasting the retailer to earn $0.92 per share and generate $15.6 billion in revenues.

In the year-ago second quarter, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based retailer earned $0.79 per share on net sales of $15.07 billion.

The company offers household essentials; hardlines and toys; apparel and accessories; home furnishings and seasonal merchandise; and food and pet supplies primarily under Target and SuperTarget trademarks.

Retailing a broad array of products, its earnings would typically reflect consumers' willingness to spend in the presently sluggish economic environment.

Target's retail segment includes general merchandise and food discount stores and Target.com, a fully integrated on-line business. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary and Visa credit card products. The company currently operates 1,743 Target stores in 49 States.

While announcing its July sales, the general merchandise and food discount store operator said that its quarter-to-date net retail sales rose 3.8% to $15.13 billion. Comparable store sales, which are a key industry performance metric to gauge activity at store locations open at least a year, were up 1.7% for the period, compared with a 6.2% decline in the same period of the last year.

For the month of July, in particular, the company's comparable store sales increased 2%, but it fell short of a 2.3% growth expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Target's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel then said, "Store traffic and apparel sales were strong, and we continued to experience soft sales in electronics, video games, music and movies."

In the months of May and June, Target's comparable store sales rose 1.3% and 1.7%, respectively.

In the sequential first quarter, Target's profit was up 29% year-over-year to $671 million or $0.90 per share, reflecting strong sales of more profitable items such as apparel at its retail segment and a nearly tripled profit at its credit card segment. The results also reflected the favorable impact of improving global economic conditions. Total revenues grew 5.1% in the first quarter to $15.59 billion.

Among others, retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT: Quote) yesterday reported higher second-quarter profit and it was roughly in line with what analysts were expecting, as its bottom line got a boost from strong overseas sales and cost controls. However, Walmart's U.S. comparable store sales declined, signaling consumers' continuing anxiety amid lingering weakness in the jobs market.

TGT closed Tuesday's trading at $50.93, up $0.21, on a volume of 6.15 million shares. The stock had been trading in a range of $43.19 - $58.52 for the past 52-week period.

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by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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