Target: April Sales Up But Lag Estimates, No More Kindle

For the first quarter of this year, Target's same-store sales rose 5.3 percent-marking its strongest quarterly same-store sales performance in more than six years. In other news, the retailer has opted to stop selling Amazon's Kindle e-readers.

A key sales figure increased slightly in April for Target Corporation but still missed analyst expectations.

The Minneapolis retailer's same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year-increased 1.1 percent over the same period in 2011. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 2.8 percent jump.

For the first quarter of this year, Target's same-store sales rose 5.3 percent-marking its strongest quarterly same-store sales performance in more than six years.

Following strong same-store sales in March, Target Chairman, CEO, and President Gregg Steinhafel said in early April that he expected a 5 percent to 6 percent jump for the quarter-higher than the 4 percent boost predicted in early March.

Meanwhile, net retail sales for the four-week period that ended April 28 increased 2.1 percent to $4.98 billion.

“We're very pleased with Target's strongest quarterly comparable-store sales performance in more than six years, which, as we've previously indicated, received an early-season boost from the combination of warm weather and an earlier Easter,” Steinhafel said in a statement.

Following a weaker-than-expected December, Target has had a strong start to 2012. Same-store sales jumped 4.8 percent in January, 7 percent in February, and 7.3 percent in March-all significantly ahead of Wall Street estimates.

Shares of Target's stock were trading down about 2.6 percent at $56.49 mid-morning on Thursday.

In other Target news, the retailer has opted to stop selling Amazon's Kindle e-readers, according to a New York Times report. In April 2010, Target began offering Kindles in select markets-and the device has since been rolled out to various stores across the country.

The national newspaper reported that Target is one of the larger off-line carriers of Kindles, most of which are sold on Amazon's website. Like many brick-and-mortar retailers, Target has tried to figure out how to prevent Amazon shoppers from using its stores as a product showroom and then buying them online from Amazon.

A Target spokeswoman told The New York Times that Target will continue to carry several other brands of e-readers.

The retailer serves customers at 1,764 stores and on its website-and it will expand into Canada next year. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $68.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in January.