Target Warning Sparks Retail Selloff

Retail stocks were trading lower on Wednesday, sparked in part by a profit-warning from discount retailerTarget.

Jae C. Hong

Target shares fell more than 2 percent. Late Monday, Target said its sales at stores open at least a year were below its prior forecast and may actually decline from year-ago levels.

Target is estimating sales for the five weeks ending Jan. 5 will be in the range of up 1 percent to down 1 percent, compared with its previous estimate of sales rising 3 percent to 5 percent. The estimates are on a calendar-adjusted basis, the company said.

The warning from Target comes amid concerns about a lackluster holiday shopping season. Consumers have been under pressure from high fuel prices, a weak housing sector and signs that the economy may be slowing.