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Home Drives Target Q3 Results

Today, Target Corp. reported third quarter net earnings of $637 million, or 96 cents per share, including a 15-cent gain from the pending sale of its credit card receivables portfolio. Adjusted earnings per share were 90 cents in third quarter versus 86 cents in 2011 period, the retailer stated.

Financial analysts surveyed as part of the Zacks Consensus Estimate expected earnings per share of 79 cents on average.

Sales advanced by 3.4% to $16.6 billion from last year’s quarter, Target noted, reflecting a 2.9% increase in comparable-store sales combined with the contribution from new stores.

Target said that expenses related to the company’s 2013 entry into the Canadian market reduced its earnings per share by approximately 13 cents in the 2012 third quarter.

In a conference call discussing the quarter’s performance, Kathee Tesija, Target’s executive vp/merchandising, noted that non-discretionary categories were in the forefront of comparable store sales drivers, but they weren’t alone.

“In more discretionary categories, comparable store sales in home led the way, most notably in seasonal categories and housewares,” she said, adding, “Strength in back to school and back to college categories was a key driver of our third quarter sales results.”

Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, in discussing the quarterly results, said, “We’re pleased with Target’s third quarter financial performance, which reflects superb execution across each of our business segments. We are well-positioned to deliver strong fourth quarter performance by offering compelling merchandise and unbeatable value through initiatives like the Target/Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection, 5% REDcard Rewards and our new Holiday Price Match which allow our guests to shop at Target with confidence throughout the holiday season.”