From: Reuters
Published March 6, 2008 09:18 AM

Target February same-store sales up 0.5 pct

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Discount retailer Target Corp <TGT.N> said on Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year rose 0.5 percent in February, in line with its forecast range.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a decline of 0.3 percent, according to Reuters Estimates, while Target had forecast February same-store sales would be down 1 percent to up 1 percent.

Total sales for the four weeks ended March 1 rose 5.9 percent to $4.37 billion, helped by strong sales of shoes, health products, food and other consumable items.

The weakest categories included jewelry and accessories, men's clothing and home goods, the company said.

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Target said this year's earlier Easter holiday -- which falls on March 23 versus April 8 last year -- means that when it closes for the holiday it will lose one March selling day versus losing that day in April last year.

As a result, the company forecast same-store sales would fall in a low-single-digit percentage range in March and rise in a mid-single-digit percentage range in April.

But for the combined period, which more accurately reflects the state of its business, Target said same-store sales should range from down 1 percent to up 1 percent.

By comparison, sales in last year's March/April period rose 3.8 percent, Target said.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller and Brad Dorfman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Dave Zimmerman)

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