US: Target sees drop in quarterly profit

Profit down by almost eight per cent for number two discount chain in the US.
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US retailer Target has reported its fourth straight quarterly profit decline, having reported net earnings of $634 million for the second quarter, compared to $686 million a year previously.

According to the firm's official statement, sales grew by 5.7 per cent in the quarter to $15 billion from $14.2 billion in 2007, due to the contribution from new store expansion slightly offset by a 0.4 per cent decline in comparable store sales.

"Our second quarter earnings per share modestly exceeded our expectations despite continued soft sales trends," commented Gregg Steinhafel, president and chief executive officer at Target. "We continue to focus on driving our financial results through superior execution and discipline and by continuing to delight our guests with differentiated merchandise at a compelling value."

In addition, during the second quarter, under the share repurchase program announced in November 2007, the company repurchased approximately 33.8 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $49.30, for a total investment of $1.7 billion.

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