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Target's slight earnings increase impacted by Canadian costs

MINNEAPOLIS — Start-up expenses and other costs related to its Canadian entry reduced Target's earnings per share for the fourth quarter by approximately 18 cents.

The company reported fourth quarter net earnings of $961 million, or $1.47 per share, compared with $1.45 per share for the same period last year. Adjusted earnings per share, a measure the company believes is useful in providing period-to-period comparisons of the results of its U.S. operations, were $1.65 in fourth quarter 2012, up 10.1% from $1.49 in 2011.

As previously reported, sales at U.S. stores increased 6.8% to $22.4 billion in fourth quarter 2012 from $20.9 billion last year, reflecting a 0.4% increase in comparable-store sales combined with the contribution from new stores and one additional accounting week.

“We’re pleased with Target’s fourth quarter performance, particularly in the face of a highly promotional retail environment and continued consumer uncertainty,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Target Corporation. “Outstanding discipline and execution by our team allowed us to achieve our full-year financial and strategic goals in 2012. We believe these results position us well to deliver on significant plans in 2013, including completion of the largest store opening program in our company’s history with 124 stores in Canada and additional Target and CityTarget locations in the U.S., investing in new processes and technology that will improve our guests’ multichannel experience and closing the sale of our credit card receivables.”

For fiscal 2013, Target said it expects adjusted EPS of $4.85 to $5.05 and GAAP EPS of $4.70 to $4.90. 

In first quarter 2013, the Target said it expects adjusted EPS of $1.10 to $1.20 and GAAP EPS of $1.22 to $1.32.