(Reuters) – U.S. retailer Target Corp
Target said comparable sales at stores open longer than a year rose 3.8 percent in the November-January quarter. That beat its forecast, unveiled last month when it announced plans to pull out of the Canadian market, for a rise of 3 percent.
Adjusted earnings per share, which excludes items including a massive loss related to the Canada exit, came to $1.50 in the fourth quarter. That was above the $1.43 to $1.47 per share range forecast by the company last month.
The results suggest that Target has moved firmly past a damaging breach of consumer data that hurt sales during the holiday season in 2013 and prompted a change of management last year. The company is now focusing its resources on its U.S. business after the Canada exit, which triggered a pre-tax loss of $5.1 billion in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter is the most important for retailers due to the boost in demand for Christmas
In an earnings release CEO Brian Cornell said the company enjoyed strong sales of focus product categories including baby, kids and wellness and that efforts to reduce costs were bearing fruit.
“We’re confident that these efforts will allow us to grow our earnings while returning cash to our shareholders in 2015 and beyond,” Cornell said in the release.
For the current quarter to end-April, Target forecast adjusted earnings per share of $0.95 to $1.05, up from $0.92 in the first quarter of 2014 and compared with the average analyst estimate of $1.04, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Target said it will unveil guidance for the full year at a meeting of analysts on March 3.
(reporting by Nathan Layne)
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