Sunday, November 21, 2010

DON'T TOUCH MY JUNK T-SHIRTS, HOLIDAY GIFTS

NEW YORK — Target Corp. is projecting a merry holiday as the discounter counts on a 5 percent discount for its credit and debit card customers and its storewide remodeling


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The upbeat report comes as Target reported a 22.6 percent increase in third-quarter net income, helped by improvements in its credit card business and expansion into food.

The cheap chic discounter said it expects a key revenue measure to rise more sharply than it has in any period in the last three years as it reaps the benefits of its new 5 percent discount offer for those buying with its branded credit card or debit cards. The store remodels feature an expansion of fresh food as well as brighter lighting in cosmetics and better shoe displays.

The projection means fourth-quarter revenue at stores open at least a year would top the 2.8 percent increase seen in the first quarter. Target also said it expects the holiday quarter's profits to match Wall Street estimates.

The report follows Wal-Mart's third-quarter results, released Tuesday, which showed its sixth consecutive quarter of declines in revenue at stores open at least a year.

Target's shares rose $2.08, almost 4 percent to $55.62. But Wal-Mart's shares slipped 49 cents to $53.77 a day after it issued a holiday forecast that wasn't quite so bullish. Wal-Mart says it expects its holiday sales will increase, but many analysts say it might be a stretch given so much stiff competition, including from dollar stores.

"While consumers remain conservative in their purchasing behavior, we're encouraged by recent signs in the broader economy that may signal somewhat stronger and more stable sales in the coming months," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target Corp. in address to investors on Wednesday. "While some current signals are more positive, we continue to plan our business cautiously."

Like many of its competitors, Target is using aggressive deals to draw in shoppers this holiday season. Target announced its most aggressive shipping offer ever, which covers 800,000 items when its online shoppers spend $50 or more. The deal is from Nov. 21 to Dec. 11.