Target's sales last month fell a bit short of analysts' expectations, but the retailer says fourth-quarter earnings will meet or possibly beat the low end of a prior forecast.
The discount retailer says sales at stores open at least a year were basically flat for the five weeks that ended Dec. 29. Analysts had expected an increase of .08 percent.
Edwards Jones retail analyst Brian Yarbrough said Target was smart not to cut prices aggressively to boost sales.
"They did a good job of balancing price investment and driving sales," Yarbrough said. "While sales didn't grow much on a comparable store basis, at least they weren't overly promotional, which then pressured margins."
The strongest sales category during the month was food, with health and beauty and clothing also doing well.
Total December sales at Target's 1,782 stores rose slightly to $10.2 billion.