Target and BJ’s miss September estimates

New York City Target Corp. said its same-store sales rose 1.3% in September, missing Wall Street's expectations for a 1.9% gain. Total sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2 rose 3.1% to $5.56 billion.

Coming in a month that was relatively positive for most retailers, the results represent a setback in Target's quest to turn around sales with a focus on groceries and marketing that emphasizes low prices.

The chain said Thursday that grocery, beauty and healthcare sales were strong, but that its monthly performance was near the low end of expectations.

TJX Cos. reported a 1% increase in September same-store sales, in line with analysts expectations. Total sales for the period rose 6% to $2.1 billion. The company raised its third-quarter guidance.

At BJ's Wholesale Club, same-store sales were up 1.5% in September, falling short of the 2.1% growth expected by analysts. Sales increased in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and upstate New York regions and fell in the metro New York and New England regions. 

Ross Stores’ sales rose 2%, just short of analysts estimates of a 2.1% gain. Total sales for the month increased by 6% to $666 million. The chain raises its third-quarter guidance, largely on significant improvements in shrinkage.

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, commented, “The forecasted upside from our previous earnings per share guidance of $.79 to $.83 is being driven mainly by much better-than-expected shortage results from our annual physical inventory of stores in September along with other favorable gross margin trends. Our lower projected shrink expense for 2010 reflects the significant progress we have made over the past few years in successfully implementing our shortage control initiatives.”

Fred's said its same-store sales were flat in September, compared with a 3.3% boost a year ago amid heavier demand for flu products. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had anticipated the company would see a 2.3% increase.

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