Shares of Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) went down around 3% after releasing its the fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday, which reported the profit of this holiday quarter missed the analyst estimates, even though sales beat forecast.
Target posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.37 per share, which declined 5.8% compared with $1.45 per share of the prior-year period. The quarterly earnings came just above the midpoint of the company’s most-recent guidance range of $1.30-$1.40 per share. Full-year Adjusted EPS were $4.71, which went down 6.37% compared with $5.01 in 2016
However, remarkably, comparable sales grew more than 4 percent in January compared to the holiday sales season of last year, leading to comparable sales growth of 3.6 percent for the fourth quarter against the 1.5% declined in prior year.
Gross profit grew 8.5% to $5,971 million, while gross margin contracted 40 basis points to 26.2%. Operating income plummeted 14.6% to $1,152 million, while operating margin shriveled 140 basis points to 5.1%.
Target has returned $591 million to shareholders in fourth quarter 2017 including paying dividends of $337 million and repurchasing shares worth $254 million. The company still had about $3.7 billion left under its $5 billion share buyback program.