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Target Q1 Earnings Down 13%, Retail Sales Up 0.4%

20 May, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

First-quarter earnings for Target Corp. were down 13% to $522 million, compared to the same quarter (ended May 2) in 2008, with earnings per share down 6.8% to 69 cents.

The retailer did not break out revenue from consumer electronics or DVD and Blu-ray Disc, however the company noted that its earnings were higher than expected in the down economy.

“In our retail segment, we continue to experience strong positive comparable store sales results in our traffic-driving food and commodity categories, and the profitability of our first-quarter sales was higher than expected due to outstanding gross margin and expense rate performance,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO.

“Very importantly, we believe this improved stability and predictability in key aspects of both our retail and credit card segments reflects the resilience of our strategy and underscores our ability to generate substantial value for our shareholders over time.”

Target retail sales actually increased in the first quarter by 0.4%, to $14.4 billion, which Target attributed to new stores. The retailer now has 1,698 in 49 states.

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