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Target January Sales Measure Edges Up

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target Corp.’s weak January sales in the South and Northeast, which were buffeted by winter storms, kept a key revenue figure from meeting analyst forecasts for the discount chain.

Target said Thursday revenue in stores open at least one year edged up 1.7 percent from January 2010. That just missed analyst expectations of a 1.9 percent rise, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

“Target’s January comparable-store sales were below expectations, particularly in portions of the South and the Northeast,” said CEO Gregg Steinhafel,

Overall, groceries and health and beauty products were the strongest sellers. Clothing, furniture and electronics were weaker.

Sales were stronger in the Upper Midwest, California and the Mid-Atlantic. The South and Northeast, which had unusually cold and snowy weather during the month, were slower.

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

So far this fiscal year, Target’s revenue in stores open at least one year has risen 2.1 percent, while its total sales are up 4 percent at $65.79 billion.

Target Corp., based in Minneapolis, says it expects February revenue in stores open at least one year to rise by a percentage in the low single digits.

Many other retailers said their January revenue in stores open at least a year was stronger than expected, despite the snowstorms.

Costco Wholesale Corp, Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands and teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. all posted gains that beat Wall Street expectations.

The measure is considered an important gauge of retailer’s fiscal health because it excludes revenue from stores that opened or closed during the year.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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