Target's holiday season didn't start off very well, with November sales below the retailer's expectations.
For the four weeks ending Nov. 26, sales at Target stores that have been open for at least one year rose about 2 percent. But Wall Street expected a 3 percent rise for that key industry benchmark.
Target CEO Greg Steinhafel said the retailer's November sales were near the low end of expectations. Sales were strongest on Black Friday, when Target stores opened at 12 a.m., he said. For the month, food and beauty products were strong sellers but clothing sales were flat and toy sales declined.
Target expects December revenue in stores open at least one year to rise — as the company put it — in the low- to mid-single digits.
In 2010, Target had very strong sales in November but disappointing sales in December. This December, Steinhafel said Target expects retailers will compete intensely on price to attract bargain-hunting shoppers.