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Target sees disappointing Q3 sales

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MINNEAPOLIS Target has released its third quarter results for the period ended Nov. 3, 2007. The net earnings were $483 million compared to the third quarter of 2006, which saw earnings of $506 million.

Total revenues in the third quarter increased 9.3 percent to $14.8 billion from $13.6 billion in 2006, reflecting a 3.7 percent increase in comparable-store sales combined with the contribution from new stores and credit card operations. The contribution from the company’s credit card operations to the third-quarter earnings before taxes was $157 million, an increase of $23 million, or 17.1 percent, from the same period in 2006.

“Our third-quarter earnings were disappointing due to soft sales in our higher margin categories, leading to lower-than-expected gross margin in our core retail operations,” said Bob Ulrich, chairman and chief executive officer. “However, we have not observed any meaningful change in the intensity of the competitive environment and continue to believe that we are well-positioned to operate in a variety of sales environments going forward.”

The company also announced that its board of directors has authorized a new $10 billion share repurchase program, replacing the previous authorization.

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