Target doesn't miss opportunity to talk about weather, blames disappointing sales on winter

Old Man Winter gave the finger to Target's first-quarter bottom line, the company says.
Old Man Winter gave the finger to Target's first-quarter bottom line, the company says.

Target's first-quarter earning report is Best Buy-esque, but the company doesn't think you should attribute that to the ongoing decline of big-box retail. Rather, it's winter's fault!

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In the official first-quarter financial report, Target attributes a 29 percent drop in earnings to "soft sales in seasonal and weather-related categories." In other words, since it seemed like spring would never come, people indefinitely delayed buying outdoorsy products and clothing.

"Target's first quarter earnings were below expectations as a result of softer-than-expected sales, particularly in apparel and other seasonal and weather-sensitive categories," Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in the earnings report. "While we are disappointed in our first quarter performance, we remain confident in our strategy, and we continue to invest in initiatives, including Canada, our digital channels and CityTarget, that will drive Target's long-term growth."

But the Financial Times notes that cold spring weather is "a factor whose influence is subject to debate in retail," and analysts cited higher payroll taxes and an increase in Social Security taxes as other factors contributing to Target's disappointing first quarter.

But hey, would you really expect one of Minnesota's signature companies to pass up a prime opportunity to talk about the weather?

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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