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Target happy with September, uncertain about holidays

Target is happy with its September sales figures and says third-quarter profits should be better than expected as a result.

But the company “remains cautious” about the fourth quarter, a reminder that retailers still face uncertainty as they enter the all-important holiday season.

Target’s net retail sales for the five weeks ending Oct. 3 were $5.4 billion, an increase of 1.3 percent from last September. Same-store sales fell 1.7 percent for the month.

“Sales for the month of September exceeded our expectations as the trend in our comparable transactions continued to improve,” CEO Gregg Steinhafel said.

A forecast this week by the National Retail Federation predicts holiday retail sales will be 1 percent lower than last year, making it the first time in 40 years that sales have dropped two years in a row.

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