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Target second-quarter profit, sales beat view as customer traffic rises

Target second-quarter profit, sales beat view as customer traffic rises
From Reuters - August 16, 2017

(Reuters) - Target Corp (TGT.N) on Wednesday reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit and comparable-store sales after four straight quarters of declines as more customers visited its stores and website.

Target shares jumped 5.1 percent to $57.11 in premarket trading after the retailer said second-quarter traffic increased more than 2 percent.

Like other retailers, Target has been struggling to boost traffic amid changing consumer habits and competition from e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O). Target shares are down 25 percent since the start of the year, widely lagging larger rival Wal-Mart (WMT.N), whose stock is up 17 percent.

In its latest turnaround bid, Target vowed this year to double the number of small-format stores, invest heavily in e-commerce, aggressively promote its products and keep grocery prices low to compete with Wal-Mart, Amazon and Kroger Co (KR.N).

Moody's retail analyst Charlie OShea said since Target's share repurchases for the quarter "slowed to a trickle," it will give the retailer the cash to execute its transition plan.

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