On January 18, 2017 Seeking Alpha’s News Editor Charles Schultz reported the following: “Target Lowers Holiday Quarter Guidance” . Target (NYSE: TGT ) announced that comparable sales during the holiday period fell 1.3% year on year, while total sales decreased 4.9% for the two-month period. Comparable sales were down almost 3% as weak store traffic was to blame. When Target reports on February 28th management now expects Q4 EPS of $1.45 to $1.55, compared with prior guidance of $1.55 to $1.75. For the full year, Target now sees EPS of $5.00 to $5.10, compared with prior guidance of $5.10 to $5.30. This is quite surprising because back in October 2016 economists were predicting strong retail sales for the industry according to this Deloitte Survey : “Economic forecasts signal another strong holiday season for US retailers, with an improved labor market and slight rise in disposable income driving a projected increase in 2016 holiday spending on par with 2015 growth. Results from this year’s edition of the annual Deloitte Holiday Survey point in a similar, optimistic direction: Total 2016 holiday sales are expected to exceed $1 trillion, representing a 3.6-4.0 percent increase in holiday sales from November through January. Consumers remain positive about the US economy and continue to report improved personal financial situations. But 2016 will be far from business as usual for the nation’s retailers. This year, online channels are poised to make holiday history. According to Deloitte’s survey, the average holiday shopper will buy 14 gifts this season, and more consumers plan to shop online for gifts than ever before.
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