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Target Q2 Profit Tops Estimates; Board Authorizes $15 Bln Share Buyback

Target Corp. (TGT) recorded an increase in profit for the second-quarter that also topped Wall Street estimates. Comparable sales growth was 8.9 percent, driven entirely by traffic. All five core merchandise categories delivered positive comparable sales, on top of last year's historic sales performance, the company noted. For the second half of 2021, the company expects high single digit growth in comparable sales, near the high end of the previous guidance range. The company now expects full year operating income margin rate will be 8 percent or higher. Also, the Board has authorized a $15 billion share repurchase program.

Second quarter adjusted EPS was $3.64, up 7.9 percent from $3.38, a year ago. On average, 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report profit per share of $3.49, for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Second quarter operating income margin rate was 9.8 percent compared to 10.0 percent. Gross margin rate was 30.4 percent, compared to 30.9 percent. The company said its gross margin rate reflected pressure from higher merchandise and freight costs and the comparison over last year's change in the sales return reserve estimate.

Second-quarter net earnings was $1.82 billion, an increase of 7.4% from previous year. Earnings per share was $3.65 compared to $3.35.

Second-quarter total revenue was $25.2 billion, up 9.5 percent from last year, driven by total sales growth of 9.4 percent and a 20.0 percent increase in other revenue. Analysts expected revenue of $25.08 billion, for the quarter.

Shares of Target Corp. were down 3% in pre-market trade on Wednesday.

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