Fourth quarter sales at Target were up as the retailer benefited from a combination of stronger-than-expected holiday sales and tighter inventory controls.
Sales for the quarter ended January 31 were $19.7 billion, up 3.7% from sales in the same quarter the previous years. Company officials said sales growth was the result of contributions from new stores and a 0.6% increase in comparable-store sales. Retail segment earnings before interest expense and income taxes (EBIT) were $1,560 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, an increase of 24.7% from $1,251 million in 2008.
“We’re very pleased with our fourth quarter and full year 2009 financial performance, which reflect substantial innovation and disciplined execution by teams across the company,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. “In 2010, we expect our guest traffic trends and sales of discretionary categories to benefit from broader implementation of our new merchandise initiatives as well as a continued modest recovery in the economy, and believe Target will continue to gain profitable market share.”
For fiscal 2009, sales increased 0.9% to $63.4 billion from $62.9 billion in 2008, due to the contribution from new stores, partially offset by a 2.5% decline in comparable store sales. Full year retail segment EBIT increased 7.3% to $4.4 billion in 2009 from $4.1 billion in 2008.