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May 18, 2022, 6:44 a.m. EDT

Target stock plunges after big profit miss, as a jump in costs hurt margins

Shares of Target Corp. (NYS:TGT) plunged 21.1% toward a 14-month low in premarket trading Wednesday, after the discount retailer reported fiscal first-quarter profit that fell well short of expectations, even as sales rose above forecasts, as cost of sales jumped. Net income for the quarter to April 30 dropped to $1.01 billion, or $2.16 a share, from $2.10 billion, or $4.17 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $2.19 missed the FactSet consensus of $3.07. Revenue grew 4.0% to $25.17 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $24.48 billion, as same-store sales increased 3.3% to beat expectations for a 0.9% increase. Cost of sales increased 10.4% to $18.46 billion, with gross margin contracting to 26.7% from 30.9%, as a result of actions to reduce excess inventory and higher freight and transportation costs. "Throughout the quarter, we faced unexpectedly high costs, driven by a number of factors, resulting in profitability that came in well below our expectations, and well below where we expect to operate over time," said Chief Executive Brian Cornell. For fiscal 2022, the company affirmed its revenue growth outlook in the low- to mid-single digit percentage range. The stock has slipped 7.0% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (PSE:XRT) has tumbled 24.2% and the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) has lost 14.2%.

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