Target Feb. Sales Climb, Fall Short of Estimates

The retailer posted a 1.8 percent increase in same-store sales during February, below the 2.2 percent increase analysts were projecting.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation on Thursday reported a slight increase in February net sales, but its same-store sales fell short of analyst estimates.

Sales for the month totaled $4.75 billion, a 2.4 percent increase from $4.64 billion in February 2010.

Same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and an industry barometer-increased 1.8 percent. The results missed the 2.2 percent increase that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting.

February marks the third consecutive month in which Target has seen sales increase, but has not met analyst expectations.

The company said that its “PFresh” remodeling program-through which it has been significantly increasing the amount and types of its grocery offerings-and its REDcard rewards program have continued to drive sales and traffic to its stores.

Through the REDcard program, Target customers who use REDcards-which include the Target credit card, the Target Visa card, and the Target check card-receive 5 percent off all purchases at store locations nationwide and at The company modified its reward program last summer.

The retailer said that it expects a mid to upper single-digit decline in its March same-store sales because the 2011 Easter holiday will be three weeks later than last year, which is expected to cause pre-Easter sales to move from March into April this year.

As a result of the shift in the holiday, Target projected a mid-teens increase in its April same-store sales.

Target serves customers at 1,750 stores in 49 states nationwide and on its Web site. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $65.4 billion for the fiscal year that ended in January 2010. Financial information for the fiscal year that ended in January 2011 is not yet available.