Target shoppers coming back but spending less

A trip to Target is working its way back into our routines, but we’re still spending less once we get there.

Target issued its August sales results to shareholders today. CEO Gregg Steinhafel said guest traffic was essentially flat, compared with August 2008 — a meaningful improvement over previous trends.

New stores helped bump net retail sales up to $4.85 billion, a 0.1 percent increase, compared with last August. On a per-store basis, however, Target saw its sales decrease 2.9 percent.

“We’re pleased with these results,” Steinhafel said, “which we believe reflect the resilience of both our guests and our strategy in a challenging environment.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Tim Bonham on 09/04/2009 - 05:38 am.

    “Guest traffic”?
    Does that mean customers? Then why doesn’t Haugen say that, instead of echoing the ‘corporate-speak’ in their press release.

    And the headline is inaccurate — saying shoppers are “coming back” implies an increase, while the actual facts in the article state that it was “essentially flat”. That means NO increase. In fact, with that weasle-word ‘essentially’ in there, I expect the actual numbers would show a decrease.

    Just reprinting press releases in NOT journalism.

  2. Submitted by Dan Haugen on 09/04/2009 - 08:56 am.

    Tim,
    Here’s how I interpreted the Target comments. The company said guest, er, customer traffic at its stores in August 2009 was roughly the same as in August 2008. That’s a change from recent months, when the number of people coming through their stores has been less than it was the same month in the previous year. The traffic is coming back to its previous levels, right?
    As far as your guest/customer complaint, you got me. I should have used customer instead of guest, and I suppose I could have put Steinhafel’s words in quotes rather than trying to paraphrase him.
    But this little brief clearly wasn’t intended to be a work of investigative journalism. My objective was simply to let people know Target made this announcement and provide a link to the press release for those readers who are interested.
    Taken in isolation, I would agree that this four-sentence blurb isn’t necessarily a work of journalism. But my goal with the Business Agenda is to provide links to a wide variety of voices and sources — from bloggers to press releases to other publications — so that someone following over the long haul gets a good sense of the type of conversations happening in and around Minnesota’s highest-profile companies.

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