Shares of Target Corp. tumbled 14.0% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the discount broadline retailer reported fiscal third-quarter profit that was well below expectations even as revenue beat, and provided a downbeat same-store sales outlook for the current quarter. Net income for the quarter to Oct. 29 fell to $712 million, or $1.54 a share, from $1.49 billion, or 3.04 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $1.54 missed the FactSet consensus of $2.16. "In the latter weeks of the quarter, sales and profit trends softened meaningfully, with guests' shopping behavior increasingly impacted by inflation, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty," said Chief Executive Brian Cornell. "This resulted in a third quarter profit performance well below our expectations." Total revenue grew 3.4% to $26.52 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $26.41 billion, while same-store sales growth of 2.7% beat expectations for a 2.2% rise. Cost of sales increased more than total sales, rising 8.1% to $19.68 billion, as gross margin contracted to 25.8% from 29.0%. Inventory was up 14.4% from a year ago at $17.12 billion as of Oct. 31, compared with the 36.1% year-over-year increase as of July 30. For the fourth quarter, the company expects same-store sales to be down in the low-single digit percentage range, compared with the FactSet consensus for a 3.1% rise. Target's stock has slipped 0.7% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector ETF has dropped 16.3% and the S&P 500 has declined 7.3%.
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