Target Raises Earnings Outlook on Strong First Quarter

The Minneapolis-based retailer increased its earnings outlook by 5 cents and now expects per-share earnings in the range of $4.60 to $4.80.

Target on Wednesday reported a boost in first-quarter sales and earnings, which has led the company to raise its full-year earnings outlook.

The Minneapolis-based company reported earnings of $697 million, or $1.04 per share, for the quarter that ended April 28, up 1.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

For the full year, Target boosted its earnings outlook by 5 cents and now expects per-share earnings in the range of $4.60 to $4.80. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Target's full-year earnings to total $4.28.

First-quarter revenue totaled $16.5 billion, up 6.1 percent from $15.6 billion in 2011. That growth was fueled in large part by a 5.3 percent increase in same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and an industry barometer. Still, that same-store sales growth fell short of the 5.6 percent growth expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

“While our outlook for the remainder of 2012 reflects continued economic uncertainty, we are confident in our strategy, keenly focused on delivering an affordable and inspirational merchandise assortment to our guests, and committed to making thoughtful investments in our U.S. and Canadian business segments that we expect will reward our shareholders over time,” Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement.

The price of Target's stock inched up about 0.6 percent Wednesday morning to $56.44 but receded to close at $55.32 that afternoon.

Target is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $69.9 billion during the fiscal year that ended in January. The company currently operates 1,764 stores throughout the United States.