Market Overview

Target March Sales Top Forecasts


It was revealed on Thursday that Target (NYSE: TGT) saw a 7.3% jump in March same-store sales, a number which has led the discount retailer to upgrade quarterly earnings guidance above Wall Street expectations.

Those same-store sales increased 7.3%, compared with expectations of a lowly 5.4% rise.

“March sales were well above our expectations, reflecting a healthy underlying trend combined with the benefit of an earlier Easter and favorable weather this year," CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

TGT credited higher average transaction size, as well as an increase in same-store transactions, according to Fox Business.

Naturally, Target is delighted with those results, and it has said that it now expects 1Q EPS of 96 cents to $1.02. From a non-GAAP standpoint, TGT sees EPS of $1.04 to $1.10. The low end of that range would exceed the Street's view of 97 cents.

The Minneapolis-based company now anticipates same-store sales to go up to the low to mid-single digits range.

Thursday's open saw shares of TGT gain 0.5% to $58.11.

In a sales conference call on Thursday, an unidentified company representative said that, as a result of stronger-than-expected sales through March, the Company currently expects first-quarter 2012 adjusted EPS of $1.04 to $1.10, compared with prior guidance of $0.97 to $1.07. The Company expects GAAP EPS of $0.96 to $1.02 compared with prior guidance of $0.88 to $0.98. The $0.08 difference between the updated ranges represents the EPS impact in the first quarter of expected expenses related to the Company's Canadian market entry, slightly offset the favorable resolution of income tax uncertainties.

"March comparable store sales in food increased in the mid-teens. Comparable store sales and household essentials increased in the mid-single-digit range with the strongest performance in healthcare. Comparable store sales in apparel and accessories increased in the low-double-digit range with strong performance across all categories and particular strength in boys' and girls' apparel. Comparable store sales in hardlines increased in the low-single-digit range with the strongest performance in the toys and the softest performance in electronics. Comparable store sales in home increased in the low-single-digit range with the strongest performance in seasonal categories and the softest performance in decorative home."

Target also said that in March, every region experienced a healthy increase in comparable store sales. At month end, our inventory was in very good condition. For the month of April, its comparable store sales results will compare the four weeks ending April 28, 2012 to the four weeks ended April 30, 2011.It expects a low- to mid-single-digit increase in Target's comparable store sales for this period.

Posted-In: Earnings News Retail Sales Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga


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