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Food and Credit Card Sales Fuel Target’s Profit Increase

NEW YORK - Target Corp. on Thursday said its second quarter profits increased nearly 13 percent, largely due to higher food sales and revenue from its credit card business.<BR><BR> Net earnings in the quarter ended July 29 rose to $609 million, or 70...

NEW YORK – Target Corp. on Thursday said its second quarter profits increased nearly 13 percent, largely due to higher food sales and revenue from its credit card business.

Net earnings in the quarter ended July 29 rose to $609 million, or 70 cents per share, compared with $540 million, or 61 cents per share in the second quarter last year. Wall Street analysts’ average forecast was 69 cents a share.

On a conference call with analysts, Target’s chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Ulrich, said he was confident that the retailer can sustain strong growth in spite of worrisome signs in the economy. “We continue to believe Target will deliver strong sales and profit performance in 2006 and generate another year of profitable market share growth even in light of the challenges posed by the current economic environment,” he said.

The retailer said it considers Wall Street’s average profit projection of $3.11 per share for the year as reasonable.Total revenue in the increased 11.3 percent to $13.3 billion from $11.9 billion in 2005, driven by new store expansion and credit card operations.

Same-store sales in the second quarter rose 4.6 percent. Sales for the period rose 11.1 percent to $12.96 billion from $11.67 billion a year ago.

Ulrich said the company is on track to open its 2,000th Target in the U.S and in 2011 when it will also hit the $100 billion annual sales mark. To achieve those goals, the Minneapolis-based retailer will have to compete with an increasingly trend-conscious Wal-Mart, which has shown its willingness to attack Target’s strength in apparel and design. Wal-Mart is remodeling stores and introducing new brands such as Metro 7 for fashion-conscious women.


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