Target Falls After Analyst Lowers Estimates on Soft July Sales

Target Corp. fell the most in almost three months after Cleveland Research lowered its estimates for the retailer’s same-store sales and earnings, saying customer traffic softened in July.

The firm now projects Target’s same-store sales fell 1.5 percent last quarter and that earnings were $1.10 a share, according to a note Tuesday. Cleveland Research said those figures are below analysts’ consensus estimates of a 1 percent comparable-sales decrease and earnings of $1.12.

“Our updated work indicates traffic slowed in July despite more aggressive promotions as the company appears to be losing share in grocery and seeing weakness in discretionary/signature categories,” the firm said. “Sales do not seem be improving to start the fiscal third quarter and Target will likely have to remain more aggressive on promotions than originally planned in order to stabilize traffic.”

The shares fell as much as 4.3 percent to $71.74 in New York, the biggest intraday decline since May 18. Minneapolis-based Target had gained 3.3 percent this year through Monday.