Target Sales Up in Oct., Beat Wall Street

Same-store sales were up 1.7 percent last month, beating the 1.5 percent predicted by Wall Street analysts.

Target Corporation posted a same-store sales increase in October, narrowly beating Wall Street expectations but slightly missing the company's desired results.

Same-store sales-sales at stores open for at least a year and an industry barometer-were up 1.7 percent from October 2009. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted a 1.5 percent jump.

Meanwhile, net retail sales for Minneapolis-based Target totaled $4.54 billion during the four weeks that ended October 31-up 2.2 percent from the same period last year.

“October sales were near the low end of our expectations, primarily due to softness in the first two weeks of the month,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement. “Guest traffic remains healthy, and sales of non-discretionary items continue to outpace other categories. Sales trends throughout the store improved in the last two weeks of the month.”

Target's year-to-date net retail sales total $45.5 billion, up 4.1 percent over the same time last year; its same-store sales are up 2 percent.

“While the environment remains uncertain, we're entering the fourth quarter with exciting holiday marketing and compelling merchandise that will deliver superior value to our guests,” Steinhafel said.

Following the release of Target's October sales results, shares of the company's stock were trading up about 3 percent at $55.59 in Thursday noontime trading.

Last week, Target announced plans to get a jump on Black Friday by launching a pre-Thanksgiving, four-day sale, and by offering online-only Thanksgiving Day specials.

Minneapolis-based Target-which operates a retail segment and a credit-card segment-now serves customers at 1,752 stores in 49 states nationwide and on its Web site. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on its revenue, which totaled $65.4 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.