Target reports Q3 earnings growth

MINNEAPOLIS Target reported net earnings of $535 million for the quarter ended Oct. 30, compared with $436 million in the quarter ended Oct. 31, 2009. Earnings per share in the third quarter increased 28.5% to 74 cents from 58 cents in the same period a year ago. All earnings per share figures refer to diluted earnings per share.

“We’re pleased with Target’s third quarter financial performance, and we are well-positioned for the fourth quarter,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Target. “We’ve built our holiday season plans to create excitement and provide our guests unbeatable value. In addition, our guests can save more than ever with our new 5% REDcard rewards program. Based on our merchandising and marketing plans, combined with the expected impact of REDcard rewards and our newly completed remodel program, we expect Target’s fourth quarter comparable-store performance will be the best of any quarter in the last three years.”

Retail segment sales increased 3% in the third quarter to $15.2 billion in 2010 from $14.8 billion in 2009, due to a 1.6% increase in comparable-store sales combined with the contribution from new stores.

Third quarter credit-card segment profit increased to $130 million from $60 million a year ago, as bad debt expense declined 64% from $301 million in third quarter 2009 to $110 million this year, the company reported.