Target says its sales will stink in the second quarter

Target shares fell 7% in pre-market trading Wednesday after the company reported a forecast for second-quarter sales that was weaker than analysts had expected.

Target said it expects comparable-store sales — at locations open for at least a year — to fall 2% at worst and be flat at best.

It sees earnings per share between $1 and $1.20, below the expectation for $1.36 according to Bloomberg.

Target said its view of the current quarter was “tempered by the recent slowdown in consumer trends.”

Earnings last week from Macy’s, Gap, and other major companies in the industry showed that the big-box retailers are still struggling to increase foot traffic and boost online sales.

Target posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.29, beating the forecast for $1.19. Its profits got a jolt from cost-cutting measures. Sales totaled $16.2 billion, below the forecast for $16.3 billion.

“We are pleased with our first quarter financial results, which demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy in an increasingly volatile consumer environment,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell in the earnings statement.

Through Tuesday’s close, Target shares had gained 1.4% this year.

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