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    Target's April Sales Miss the Mark as Shoppers Economize

    A same store sales gain of 3.1% missed expectations, and an earlier Easter was a factor as well as purchases heavy on food but light on higher margin categories.

    Target Corp.'s April same-store sales rose, but missed expectations due in part to an earlier Easter. The retailer reported that its same-store sales were up 3.1 percent, slightly below its anticipated range. Analysts were expecting its same-store sales to rise 4.5 percent, according to Reuters estimates, while Target had forecast an increase in the mid-single-digit percentage range.

    Sales for the four weeks ended May 3 increased 9 percent to $4.253 billion while consumers shopped for necessities such as food but passed on items with higher profit margins such as jewelry.

    "Comparable store sales performance in April was slightly below our planned range," said Gregg Steinhafel, Target Corp.'s c..e.o. He noted that the timing of Easter this year hurt comparisons to last April.

    The 1,613-store retailer said while April sales began to improve toward the end of the month, certain markets under housing-related stress - including Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of California - are still weak.

    Target said it now expects May same store sales to come in between a 1 percent loss and a 1 percent gain.

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