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Target Announces Deals, Gears Up for Strong Dec.

Same-store sales last month missed Wall Street expectations and were "near the low end" of the company's expectations, but Target aims to capture significant sales in December through various discounts and promotions.

On the heels of weaker-than-expected November sales, Target Corporation is positioning itself to capture significant sales during the holiday season by offering various discounts and promotions.

The Minneapolis-based retail giant's same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and an industry barometer-were up 1.8 percent last month, weaker than the 2.8 percent jump expected by Wall Street analysts. Target Chairman, President, and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said that the results were "near the low end of our expectations for the month as we compared against very strong performance last year." Meanwhile, net retail sales for the four weeks that ended November 26 were up 3 percent to $6.2 billion.

For the first time this year, Target opened stores at midnight on Black Friday, and Steinhafel said that "guests responded to our midnight opening and compelling prices." He added that he's expecting a "competitive and promotional environment" in December as customers focus on value. But garnering December sales may be a steep task: Same-store sales last December rose just 0.9 percent.

Target said Thursday that it will offer discounts on big-name toys and other gifts both in stores and online in the coming weeks.

Its "Big Toy Event" from December 4-10 features a buy one-get one 50 percent off offer for various toy brands including Barbie, Fisher-Price Little People, Disney Princess, Disney Cars 2, Nerf, Thomas & Friends, and Lego City. Target is also offering a "25 Days of Toys" promotion during the month; from November 30 through Christmas Eve, Target will offer one popular toy each day at a 30 to 50 percent discount.

Additionally, executives told Reuters that Target plans to have a new "Almost Last Minute" sale this year to appeal to consumers who have yet to do their holiday shopping. The sale, which will take place between December 8 and 10, will reportedly feature a range of items including televisions, a camera, some video games, and cookware. Target hasn't yet revealed more specific details.

The retailer is also offering some deals through social media outlets. One that began Wednesday allows Facebook fans to print a coupon entitling them to a $10 gift card when they spend at least $50 in stores by Saturday.

Target serves customers at 1,767 stores and on its Web site. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $67.4 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.

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