MINNEAPOLIS-Target Corp. reported strong sales and earnings during the second quarter, but executives say that they are taking a more conservative outlook for the second half of the year. “We’re at a slightly more modest rate than we were last year, and we see that continuing into the fall season,” said Bob Ulrich, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, during a conference call.

Same-store sales rose 4.9% during the period, which ended Aug. 4, while total sale jumped 9.5%, to $14.6 billion. Net earnings came in at $686 million, or 80 cents per share, compared to 70 cents per share during the same year-ago period.

Executives are still forecasting earnings per share for the year to come in at $3.60. However, they plan to manage the inventory of seasonal products and apparel more tightly this fall to combat any shortfalls.

Target opened 42 stores during the quarter, 32 of them general merchandise and 10 of them in the grocery-selling SuperTarget format, bringing the chain’s total to 1,537 units. During the quarter, the company also opened its first three-level store, in Glendale, CA.

For the current quarter, Target plans to open 43 general-merchandise units and 18 SuperTargets, all in October.

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