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Target suffers from lower sales

From Times Wire Services

Target Corp. said profit fell for the fourth straight quarter after consumers cut purchases of its most profitable clothing and home goods.

Second-quarter net income declined 7.6% to $634 million, or 82 cents a share. The profit beat analysts’ estimates by 6 cents because the Minneapolis-based company reined in costs.

Sales at stores open more than a year dropped for the second quarter in a row, signaling that Target isn’t keeping pace with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. while the slumping economy drives consumers to discounters. Wal-Mart said last week that tax-rebate checks helped drive so-called same-store sales up 4.5% in the quarter.

Target shares fell 33 cents to $49.72.

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