Target Sept. Sales Up But Miss Expectations

The 1.3 percent increase in same-store sales fell short of the 1.9 percent jump that analysts had expected and was "near the low end" of the company's own expectations.

Target Corporation's same-store sales rose in September but failed to meet the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

Same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and an industry barometer-increased 1.3 percent last month, Target said Thursday. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 1.9 percent jump.

“September sales were near the low end of our expectations,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement. “We're pleased with results in our back-to-school and back-to-college categories, and we continue to see strong performance in grocery, beauty, and health care.”

Target has remodeled stores in recent months in order to make room for more food-an effort that aims to attract shoppers sticking to basics amid the uncertain economy. The retailer said that it will finish its remodeling program this month.

Net retail sales for the five weeks that ended October 2 totaled $5.56 billion, representing a 3.1 percent increase from the same period last year.

Year-to-date, Target's same-store sales are up 2.1 percent, and its net retail sales are up 4.3 percent to $40.9 billion.

Later this month, Target will launch its previously announced REDcard program. Guests who use Target's “REDcards”-which include the Target credit card, the Target Visa card, and the Target check card-will receive 5 percent off all purchases at stores and online. The program, which replaces another longtime rewards program, is hoped to drive sales.

Following the release of Target's September sales results, shares of the company's stock were trading up about 0.6 percent at $54.39 in Thursday morning trading.

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.