Target sees 'much weaker' April sales

Discussion in 'Stocks' started by S2007S, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. S2007S


    Target sees 'much weaker' April sales
    Stock falls 3% as retailer revises two-month sales to 3-4% gain, down from forecast of 4-6%.
    April 23 2007: 7:30 PM EDT

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- Target Corp. said Monday that April sales at established stores would be "much weaker" than an earlier forecast, sending its shares down 3 percent in extended trading.

    Target said it now anticipates same-store sales - a key measure of retail performance that measures sales at stores open at least a year - to rise between 3 percent and 4 percent for the combined March-April period, below an earlier forecast for a rise of 4 percent to 6 percent.

    The shares of Target's (Charts, Fortune 500) bigger rival, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Charts, Fortune 500) also fell on the news, dropping less than 1 percent in extended trading.

    "It's pretty surprising," Morningstar analyst Joseph Beaulieu said of Target's lowered forecast. "I don't think anyone really understands what's going on."

    Beaulieu speculated that colder weather or high gas prices might have kept customer away from the stores in recent weeks.

    Earlier this month, Target said it expected April same-store sales to fall 2 percent to 4 percent due to the earlier timing of Easter. Target's March same-store sales - a period that included pre-Easter shopping - rose 12 percent.

    ThinkEquity analyst Ed Weller wrote in a research report the lowered forecast "appears to suggest an April (same-store sales) decline in the range of 8 to 9 percent."

    Last April, Target posted a same-store sales increase of 10.4 percent.

    The company said Monday that same-store sales were expected to rise 4 percent for the first quarter.

    It also said that first-quarter earnings-per-share growth would be consistent with an earlier outlook for the full year. In February, it said the average analyst profit estimate of $3.60 per share was within the range of "likely outcomes" for its current fiscal year and repeated that view earlier this month.

    As of Monday, analysts were expecting Target to post full-year earnings of $3.61 per share, excluding items, according to Reuters Estimates.

    Target shares closed on the New York Stock Exchange at $61.43 and fell over 3 percent to $59.52 in extended trading. Wal-Mart shares closed at $48.93 and fell 40 cents to $48.53 after hours. Top of page
    Wal-Mart's CEO Scott earned $23M in 2006
  2. Very bad sign as to the health of the middle class American consumer....especially coupled with GM's announcement today that subprime woes are depressing credit and car sales.
  3. April will be bad... But based on the last week in my business and everone I talked to huge pent up demand. The consumer broke loose this last week, best April week in 3 years for me and still going strong today. So says me, my suppliers, the moron at the liquour store and the hot chick at Kroger.