Target sales beat expectationsby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minneapolis-based Target reports its September sales were better than expected. But the retailer is concerned about the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Sales at Target stores open at least one year were down 1.7 percent in September. But Wall Street analysts had anticipated a bigger decline of 2 percent. The same-store sales measure is a key retail performance indicator.
In September, many leading retailers had a slight sales increase or smaller-than-expected sales declines at stores open at least a year.
Target says its third-quarter earnings will likely exceed current estimates of Wall Street analysts. But the retailer says it is "cautious" about the fourth quarter, which includes Christmas shopping season.
Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says that's understandable, given the state of the economy and competition from Walmart.
"The Christmas period for Target is not going to be easy, because Walmart is just going to be very difficult," Davidowitz said. "And Target itself is not giving out any rosy forecasts. I just don't believe their sales are going to go into the positive column for the holiday period."
Other retailers are also worried about the holiday shopping season. Shoppers were afraid to spend last year. And now more of them are struggling with job losses, reduced pay and tighter credit.