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Salomon Cuts Target to 'In-Line'

Salomon Smith Barney downgraded Target (TGT) to in-line from outperform.

On Monday the retailer provided a business and financial overview. Analyst Deborah Weinswig says given the steady stream of below-plan weekly sales at Target, she has become increasingly worried about the third and fourth quarters.

Weinswig says she had previously thought of Target as being differentiated from both Wal-Mart and Kohl's, due to its upscale focus and designer brands, but now believes Target may be "stuck in the middle."

Weinswig fears that consumers are shopping Wal-Mart for food and basics and Kohl's for apparel and home goods (in markets where they overlap); making Target less of a destination. She cut the $1.86 fiscal 2003 (Jan.) earnings per share estimate to $1.82, and cut the $2.13 fiscal 2004 estimate to $2.09. She also cut the $40 target to $32.

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