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MINNEAPOLIS-Target Corp. Reported net earnings for the third quarter of $436 million, compared to the previous year’s net earnings figure of $369 million. The results are an 18.6% increase when compared to Q3 2008.

“We’re very pleased with our third quarter earnings performance, which reflects strong execution and a commitment to continued innovation by teams throughout the company,” says Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO. “Profitability in our retail segment during the third quarter was well above expectations.”

Sales increased to $14.8 billion in Q3, a 1.4% increase over 2008. As GlobeSt.com reported, during the second quarter 2009, Target reported a slight decline in both net revenue and sales. But at the time executives were optimistic for the company’s second half of 2009.

Company executives, during the investor earnings call this morning, announced extensive renovation plans to implement its PFresh arm. The fresh grocer segment was introduced to the Philadelphia market this year with significant positive results. As a result, in 2009 108 stores now carry PFresh, with 30 opening in the Philadelphia market alone.

In 2010 an additional 350 stores will be outfitted to carry PFresh. The grocer arm will be introduced to existing stores in high priority markets. Executives did not name specific markets they would target at this point but will likely have further guidance on this project during the February investor meetings. However, executives did say every location in priority markets will not carry PFresh by the end of 2010. Complete implementation will not complete until 2011 or 2012.

Beyond the 350 renovated stores, Target will open 12 new stores, which will net an additional 10 stores to the portfolio when taking into account a couple store closings. Between the PFresh implementation and the new stores, executives told investors today the company will invest a total of $1 billion in these ventures. At least half of that total will go directly to PFresh. <p.

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