Target rattles Wall Street with weak fourth quarter, outlook for 1st quarter

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Target reported a 43 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit and weak store sales overshadowed an improving online performance. Its outlook for the first quarter and all of 2017 were far below what industry analysts had been expecting.

Shares tumbled nearly 13 percent before the opening bell today and the numbers in Target’s report dragged other retailers like Wal-Mart and Macy’s down with it in premarket trading.

The Minneapolis company warned early this year about what was to come after a disappointing holiday season, but investors were still rattled by the numbers released today.

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For 2017, Target Corp. anticipates an adjusted profit of $3.80 to $4.20 per share. That’s wasn’t even close to the per-share earnings of $5.32 that Wall Street was projecting, according to a poll of analysts by FactSet.

Neither was Target’s first-quarter profit projection of between 80 cents and $1. Analysts, according to FactSet, expected $1.33 per share.

For the three months ended Jan. 28, Target earned $817 million, or $1.46 per share.