Target suffers as consumers retreat

From Times Wire Reports

Target Corp., the second-biggest discount retailer, said profit fell for the third straight quarter as consumers stung by record gasoline and food prices cut back on purchases of clothing and home furnishings.

Net income for the fiscal first quarter ended May 3 declined 7.5% to $602 million, or 74 cents a share, from $651 million, or 75 cents, a year earlier. Revenue advanced 5.4% to $14.8 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year decreased for the first quarter in five years, dropping 0.7%. It was the second quarter the company's comparable-store sales have lagged behind larger discount chain Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which returned to advertisements focused on its lower prices and worked to improve the quality of clothing and home products.

Shares of Minneapolis-based Target fell 63 cents, or 1.2%, to $54.29.

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