By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Target reported a 5.2 percent drop in earnings for the fourth quarter, as big discounts to get tight-fisted shoppers to buy during the holiday season eroded profits.
The discount retailer, however, offered a full-year profit outlook that was above Wall Street estimates. Target’s shares were 0.2 percent lower in early trading.
Target, like others including rival Wal-Mart, stepped up price-cutting during the holiday shopping season in November and December to get bargain-hunting shoppers to spend. But that hurt margins, and the retailer, based in Minneapolis, had reduced its fourth-quarter earnings outlook in January.
Target said Thursday that gross profit margin slipped to 28.4 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 28.7 percent in the year-ago period.
The company reported net income of $981 million, or $1.45 a share, in the three months that ended Jan. 28. That compares with $1.04 billion, or $1.45 a share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue rose 3.3 percent to $20.94 billion. Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 2.2 percent for the period.