With Holidays Approaching, Target Sees Sales Growth

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, Target reported that its year-over-year, same-store sales growth in October was almost double that experienced between October 2009 and 2010; still, the results fell short of analysts' expectations.

Target Corporation's same-store sales rose 3.3 percent in October, a larger increase than the company experienced last year, but still short of analysts' expectations.

Same-store sales are sales at stores that have been open for at least a year, and the figure serves as an industry barometer. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had anticipated a 4.2 percent increase last month.

Still, the results appear to be a positive sign as the Minneapolis-based retailer heads into the holiday shopping season. Its same-store sales growth significantly outpaced the 1.7 percent increase last October. And same-store sales during the third quarter have grown 4.3 percent-compared to a 1.6 percent increase during the same period in 2010.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel said that the company is “pleased” with Target's third-quarter same-sales results.

“We believe our unique merchandise assortment, exceptional everyday prices, and superior shopping experience are more relevant than ever in these challenging economic times,” Steinhafel said in a statement. “We're confident that our merchandising and marketing plans position Target to drive strong results throughout the holiday season and beyond.”

The Minneapolis-based retailer said that net retail sales for the month totaled $4.84 million, up 4.3 percent from October 2010.

In an attempt to boost November sales, Target is one of numerous retailers that is planning to open its doors at midnight on Black Friday-the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the official start of the holiday shopping season. In addition to opening stores earlier than ever, Target also will keep stores open a record 23 hours, until 11 p.m.

As the company approaches the holiday season, it has announced the departure of a few of its leaders. In early October, Chief Marketing Officer Michael Francis abruptly left his post to join J.C. Penney Company, Inc. A couple of weeks later, the company announced that Target.com President Steve Eastman left the company “to pursue other opportunities.” (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Doug Scovanner also announced plans to retire, although that will occur in March, following the upcoming holiday season.)

Target, Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, serves customers at 1,767 stores and on its Web site.