Target (NYSE: TGT) joined in the chorus of retailers reporting their December sales results this morning, though the firm was a little off key. The retailer announced that same-store sales for December rose 4.1 percent, falling short of the Street estimate for a 4.5-percent increase.
Net sales for the five-week period jumped nine percent to $9.25 billion, versus its year-ago sales of $8.42 billion.
Sales during the period rose on strength in demand for electronics, health-care and household products. On the other hand, jewelry and intimate apparel were weaker.
In a statement released by Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Ulrich, he said that Our December comparable store sales growth was in line with our expectations.
Looking ahead, Target forecast a same-store sales gain of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent. For the same period a year ago, same-store sales rose 5.2 percent.
Many retailers struggled with poor demand for clothing in an unusually mild December.
The weak sales report from the retailing behemoth leave it vulnerable to potential downgrades from Wall Street. Zacks reports that nine of the 15 analysts following Target rate it a buy or better, while not one awards it a sell rating. This configuration leaves ample room for potential downgrades.