Target comps light in November

MINNEAPOLIS — Target reported November same-store sales increased 1.8%, which was toward the low end of the company’s guidance that called for an increase in the low to mid single-digit range.

“November sales were near the low end of our expectations for the month as we compared against very strong performance last year,” Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. “As we kicked off the holiday season following Thanksgiving, sales were strongest on Black Friday as guests responded to our midnight opening and compelling prices. Our view of December remains the same — we expect a competitive and promotional environment as consumers continue to focus on value.”

This year’s 1.8% increase was on top of November 2010 increase of 5.5% and was led by a mid teens increase in the food category followed by a mid-single digit gain in the household essentials area, which includes the beauty category where performance was the strongest. Apparel and accessories comps were flat, while hardline and home furnishings and decors comps declined in the low single digits. On a regional basis, stores in California performed better than average while stores in the south and southeast were weaker than the average.

Steinhafel said the company expects its December sales performance will surpass November and he called for a comp increase in the low to mid single-digit range.