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.
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)