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    Q4 Sales, Earnings Up at Target

    City Target, Canadian stores on tap for next three years

    Target Corp. sales were up nearly 3 percent for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 29, with earnings per share up a record 17 percent.

    “We’re very pleased with our fourth quarter and full-year 2010 financial results, which reflect strong performance in both of our business segments,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president CEO of Minneapolis-based Target. “In 2011, we will continue to focus on driving sales and traffic and providing an enhanced shopping experience through key strategic initiatives that include our ambitious remodel program, 5 percent REDcard Rewards and the launch of our new Target.com platform.”

    Beyond 2011, Steinhafel said, the retailer plans to expand its store footprint by opening its first City Target stores in 2012 and opening 100 to 150 Canadian Target stores in 2013 and 2014. “We believe these transformational initiatives position Target for profitable growth in 2011 and many years to come, and will create meaningful shareholder value over time,” he said.

    Target reported Q4 net earnings of $1.035 billion, compared to $936 million for the same period last year. Earnings per share in the fourth quarter increased 17 percent to $1.45 from $1.24 in the same period a year ago. On a full-year basis, earnings per share were $4, a 21.4 percent increase from $3.30 in 2009.

    Sales increased 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter to $20.3 billion in 2010 from $19.7 billion in 2009, due to a 2.4 percent increase in comparable-store sales and the contribution from new stores. Fourth-quarter gross margin rate was 28.7 percent in 2010, down from 29.1 percent in 2009, due to the impact of the company’s PFresh remodel program and its 5 percent REDcard Rewards initiative.

    For fiscal 2010, sales increased 3.7 percent to $65.8 billion from $63.4 billion in 2009, due to a 2.1 percent increase in comparable store sales combined with the contribution from new stores.

    Target operates 1,750 stores in 49 states nationwide.

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