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Target Cites Data Breach, Canadian Operations In Q4 Earnings Decline

In the fourth quarter ended February 1, Target Corp. posted net earnings of $520 million, or 81 cents per share, versus $961 million, or $1.47 per diluted share in the year earlier period. Sales were $21.52 billion versus $22.37 billion in the 2012 quarter.

For the full-year, net earnings were $1.97 billion, or $3.07 per diluted share, versus $3 billion, or $4.52 per diluted share. Sales were $72.6 billion versus $72 billion in the fiscal year prior, the company reported.

Canadian Segment operations affected fourth quarter and full-year GAAP EPS by a negative 40 cents and negative $1.13, respectively, the company stated.

Adjusted earnings per share were $1.30 in fourth quarter 2013 versus $1.65 in the 2012 period, while full-year 2013 adjusted EPS was $4.38 compared with $4.76 in 2012.

A published average analyst estimate from Thomson Reuters called for adjusted earnings per share of 79 cents in the fourth quarter.

In the United States, sales decreased 6.6% to $20.9 billion from the year earlier. The decline reflected the impact of an additional accounting week in 2012 and a 2.5% decrease in comparable store sales, partially offset by the contribution from new locations. Segment earnings before interest expense and income taxes were $1.41 billion down 22.4% from the 2012 quarter.

“For more than 50 years Target has succeeded by focusing on our guests,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target Corp. chairman, president and CEO. “During the first half of the fourth quarter, our guest-focused holiday merchandising and marketing plans drove better-than-expected sales. However, results softened meaningfully following our December announcement of a data breach. As we plan for the new fiscal year, we will continue to work tirelessly to win back the confidence of our guests and deliver irresistible merchandise and offers, and we are encouraged that sales trends have improved in recent weeks.”