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December deja vu


Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel is confident in the company’s ability to perform well during the holiday season, but having said that, the company is also forecasting its December sales will decline. Target saw its November same-store sales decline a worse-than-expected 1.5% and now the company’s guidance is for more of the same during December.

The problem with November was that soft sales early in the month couldn’t be overcome by strength later in the month, when the retailer experienced a mid-single-digit comp increase during its two-day Thanksgiving weekend sale.


“Sales were stronger on Black Friday than Saturday, with particular strength in electronics, toys, apparel, domestics, small appliances and beauty,” Steinhafel said. “On-line sales during this two-day period were also quite strong. For the month overall, comparable store transactions were positive and inventories remain well-controlled, giving us confidence in our ability to perform well during the holiday season in what continues to be a challenging economic environment.”

Apparel and home continue to be problem categories for the company with same-store sale there down in the mid-single digits. The company also disclosed that it experienced its weakest results in Florida and Texas, states in which Walmart coincidently has its highest concentrations of stores. Total sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 28 increased 1.5% to nearly $5.7 billion.

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