Target’s Jan. Sales Up, Narrowly Miss Expectations

Same-store sales rose 1.7 percent from January 2010, just shy of the 1.9 percent increase that Wall Street analysts had expected.

Target Corporation reported a modest sales increase in January but fell slightly short of both Wall Street estimates and the company's own expectations.

The Minneapolis-based retailer's same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and an industry barometer-rose 1.7 percent from January 2010. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected an increase of 1.9 percent.

“Target's January comparable-store sales were below expectations, particularly in portions of the South and the Northeast” which experienced severe winter storms, Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Total sales for the four weeks that ended January 29 rose 2 percent to $4.38 billion.

So far this fiscal year, Target's sales have totaled $65.8 billion, representing a 3.7 percent bump from the previous year. Same-store sales, meanwhile, are up 2.1 percent.

Steinhafel said that the company's “PFresh” remodeling program-through which it has been significantly increasing the amount and types of its grocery offerings-“continues to drive incremental traffic and sales.”

Additionally, he said that the REDcard rewards program has continued to meet company expectations. Through the 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 PFresh and REDcard rewards programs are expected to “drive even more meaningful increases in Target's fiscal 2011 comparable-store sales,” according to Steinhafel.

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.