Feb. 27 - Target’s profit slips to $961 million in the key winter holiday quarter as it loses the discount battle to Wal-Mart. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is $961 million. That's Target's fourth quarter profit - down about $20 million from a year ago Why? The discount retailer just had the weakest holiday sales season in four years. Its new collection of designer dresses and dishes sold in collaboration with high-end department store chain Neiman Marcus was a fiasco. Plus, shoppers held back from discretionary spending in an uncertain economy, sticking to the basics like food and value-priced items. Here are some other interesting take-aways from the quarter: Fewer people shopped at Target during the holiday quarter than the year before, but those who did - spent more each time they visited and more used Target's 5 percent discount debit or credit card. But all-in-all, analysts say Target lost out to its rival Wal-Mart during the holidays. Despite that, the retailer said it sees a solid showing in the current quarter and for the year. It did not mention sales, but when it comes to adjusted earnings, it is expecting $1.10 to $1.20 per share for the first quarter, versus $1.11 a year earlier, and that would be sequentially down from the $1.47 it earned during the fourth quarter.