UPDATE 3-Target cautious after weak holiday quarter, shares fall

Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:57pm EST
 
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* Fourth-quarter profit $1.47/shr vs Street view $1.48

* Sees 2 percent sales growth for 2013

* Shares down 1 percent after steeper decline

By Jessica Wohl

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Target Corp on Wednesday offered a cautious outlook for consumer spending in 2013 following a weak holiday quarter and said it was on track with its massive Canadian store opening plans this year.

The discount retailer's fourth-quarter profit fell short of Wall Street expectations as the number of purchases dropped 1 percent, the first such decline in 14 quarters.

Its shares fell nearly 1 percent at $63.46 after dropping as much as 3.7 percent.

"The U.S. economy is growing at a painfully slow rate," Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said on a conference call.

"We have a tempered view of the near-term sales environment," he said, adding that shoppers, or "guests" as Target calls them, are "quite resilient."   Continued...