February 23, 2010 / 1:40 PM / 8 years ago

CORRECTED - UPDATE 1-Target quarterly profit tops estimates

(Corrects to show which earnings per share figure is comparable to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates)

* Q4 shr $1.17 vs Wall St view $1.16

* Q4 same-store sales up 0.6 pct

* Shares down 1.3 pct in pre-market trading

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Target Corp (TGT.N) on Tuesday reported higher quarterly profit as the No. 2 U.S. discount retailer avoided the drastic clearance sales that crimped results in its holiday quarter a year ago.

Net income was $936 million, or $1.24 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, compared with $609 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a lower provision for income taxes, earnings per share were $1.17, just above the average analyst forecast of $1.16 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 3.7 percent to $19.72 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer’s health, rose 0.6 percent.

Last year, Target’s quarterly profit fell nearly 41 percent as it cut prices to clear holiday merchandise and lost money in its credit card segment as shoppers fell behind on payments.

Since then, Target has reduced inventory and increased its focus on food and pharmacy items to appeal to frugal shoppers. It is also offering to match competitors’ prices. (Reporting by Nicole Maestri, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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