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Target Cuts October Same-Store Sales View

Target cut its outlook for October sales at stores open at least a year on Monday, the second month in a row the discount retailer has lowered its same-store sales forecast, as investors begin to focus on how the holiday sales season will measure up.

Target now expects same-store sales to rise between 2 percent to 4 percent, down from a forecast earlier this month of an increase of between 3 percent and 5 percent.

In a recorded message, the retailer said its reduced forecast was partly based on "greater-than-normal daily volatility and continued disappointing sales results for the first two weeks of October."

Target reports actual sales results on Nov. 8.

Investors are watching retail sales closely to see how consumer spending holds up headed into the crucial holiday selling season, when the bulk of retailers' profits are made. U.S. retail chains reported largely disappointing September sales, blaming unusually warm weather that crimped demand for cold-weather gear.

Last month, Target warned that September sales at its stores open at least a year would miss initial expectations they would rise 4 percent to 6 percent. But when it reported final September sales results earlier this month, it missed even its own lowered forecast.

September same-store sales rose 1.2 percent -- below the revised forecast for a rise of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. The company blamed poor apparel sales and weak traffic.

Target also said at the time that its full-year earnings should be below $3.60 per share. Earlier, it said profit could be slightly more or less than that figure.

In 2006, Target's October same-store sales rose 3.9 percent.

Target shares fell 15 cents to $61.40 in light after-hours trading from Monday's close of $61.55 on the New York Stock Exchange.