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Target upbeat about holidays after 3Q climbs

MINNEAPOLIS– Target Corp. on Thursday reported a third-quarter net income that handily beat Wall Street expectations, and the big-box retailer issued a rosy outlook heading into the critical holiday shopping season.

The company, based in Minneapolis, is optimistic about the period, which can make up 40 percent of a retailer's annual revenue. The cheap-chic chain cited its new price matching program and a holiday collection partnership with luxury department store Neiman Marcus.

For the fourth quarter, the company said it anticipates adjusted earnings of $1.64 to $1.74 per share. Analysts predict $1.50 per share.

Target's stock added $1.11, or 1.8 percent, to $62.49 in late morning trading Thursday.

Target's upbeat view contrasts with rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The world's biggest retailer on Thursday issued a fourth-quarter profit outlook that came in below Wall Street expectations.

For the three months ended Oct. 27, Target earned $637 million, or 96 cents per share. That's up from $555 million, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier.

The current quarter's performance included a 15-cent gain tied to the retailer's sale of its consumer credit-card business to TD Bank Group.

Target, which had been looking for a buyer for nearly two years, announced the deal last month.

Removing certain items, the chain's earnings were 90 cents per share. Analysts expected 78 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue climbed 3 percent to $16.6 billion from $16.05 billion, but missed Wall Street's $16.91 billion forecast.

Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key retail metric, rose 2.9 percent, slower than last year's 4.3 percent increase. This figure excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

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