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Ganassi sponsor Target reports profit plunge
Target Corp. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit fell 41 percent as consumer spending suffered amid high unemployment and other economic woes.  The discount retailer earned $609 million, or 81 cents per share, in the quarter ended Jan. 31. That compares to $1.03 billion, or $1.23 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue in the quarter fell 1.6 percent to $19.02 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 5.9 percent, the company said. Sales at new stores partially offset that.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically exclude one-time items, had expected Target to earn 83 cents per share on revenue of $19.5 billion.

The company also has seen rising delinquencies in its credit-card business, another source of trouble. The credit card business dragged down fourth-quarter results with a one-time, pre-tax loss of $135 million. Target was forced to take the loss because it had to add another $245 million to its reserve to cover delinquencies.

Target has also suffered as consumers who want lower prices have shifted back to cheaper stores.

"In 2009, we are focused on continuing to grow our market share profitably -- offering even more compelling prices on quality products in combination with a superior shopping experience," Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

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