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Weak holiday sales force Target to drop 4Q earnings forecast

A shopper approaches the Target store in Mount Kisco, New York.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
A shopper approaches the Target store in Mount Kisco, New York.

Target on Wednesday lowered its comparable store sales and earnings forecasts for the fourth quarter, citing softer-than-expected holiday sales.

The company said comparable sales declined 1.3 percent in the November-December period.

Target said it now expects fourth-quarter comparable sales to fall between 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent, compared with its prior view of sales ranging between a decline of 1 percent to an increase of 1 percent.

"While we were pleased with Black Friday sales, December digital sales growth of more than 40 percent and continued strength in our Signature Categories, these results were offset by early season sales softness and disappointing traffic and sales trends in our stores," Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target, said in a statement.

The company's shares were down 4.9 percent at $67.50 in premarket trading on Wednesday.