UPDATE 2-Target warns current-quarter profit will miss forecasts

Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:16pm EDT
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* Expects adj EPS slightly below the low end of its prior outlook

* Stands by full-year adj EPS forecast of $4.85-$5.05

* Shares fall as much as 2 percent

April 16 (Reuters) - Target Corp warned earnings for the first quarter would miss its expectations on weaker-than-expected sales of seasonal and weather-sensitive items.

The discount retailer said adjusted earnings per share for the current quarter would come in slightly below the low end of its prior outlook of $1.10 to $1.20.

Target now expects same-store sales to be about flat. It had earlier forecast same-store sales to be flat to up 2 percent.

"We see this (outlook) as largely expected, given the far-reaching discussion of weak March retail sales," Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Schick said.

U.S. retail sales contracted for the second time in three months in March, falling 0.4 percent, a Commerce Department report said.

But readings for retail sales have been volatile so far this year, making it difficult to know whether the weakness in March was due to a tax hike that went into effect at the start of the year or to temporary factors related to the weather.   Continued...