MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Discount retailer Target Corp. said Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year edged up 0.9 percent in December, but it fell well short of analyst expectations, and Target’s shares tumbled nearly 6 percent in morning trading.
Target said it sold more goods earlier and at lower prices than expected and it said weakness in electronics, toys and some home categories offset strength in grocery and clothing.
Target’s shares skidded $3.66, or 6.2 percent, to $55.28 in morning trading.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the figure to rise 4 percent. Revenue at stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of a retailer’s performance, and December’s results are particularly important because they include much of the holiday shopping season.
Total sales for the five weeks ended Jan. 1 rose about 1 percent to $9.88 billion.
The discounter continues to expect its fourth-quarter revenue at stores open at least a year to be 2 percent to 4 percent higher than a year earlier, and it said it can meet analyst expectations for earnings of $1.40 per share.
“Sales in some key gift-giving categories moved earlier into the holiday season, and lower-margin items drove a higher portion of sales than expected,” said CEO Gregg Steinhafel.
For the fiscal year so far, Target said its revenue in stores open at least one year is up 2.1 percent and total revenue is up 4 percent to $61.4 billion.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)