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Target 4Q Profit Climbs 14 Percent

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Discount retailer Target Corp., helped by store expansion and improved sales at existing locations, reported a 14 percent rise in profits in the fourth-quarter.

Target said Thursday that for the three-month period ended Jan. 28, profits rose to $939 million, or $1.06 per share, from $825 million, or 91 cents, the year before. That just beat the $1.05 estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Quarterly revenue totaled $16.95 billion, up 12 percent from $15.19 billion a year earlier, and edging above Wall Street's consensus target of $16.87 billion. The company reported a 4.2 percent increase in sales at stores opened at least a year, known as same-store sales. Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.

Full-year income slid to $2.41 billion, or $2.71 per share, from $3.2 billion, or $3.51 per share, in 2004, when a $1.24 billion gain from discontinued operations boosted its results. Total revenues rose 12.3 percent to $52.62 billion.
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