New York – A cautious outlook on the crucial holiday season overshadowed progress Target made in bringing more customers to its stores, pulling its shares down sharply. The shares of other retailers fell as well, even though overall economic figures show people still spending.Target reported higher customer traffic numbers and better sales at established stores as its investments in improving its stores and online capabilities appear to be paying off. But those changes, as well as its moves to cut prices and raise employee wages, are dragging down profits.The discount chain reported a 21 percent drop in fiscal third-quarter profit.Seeking to soothe investors, CEO Brian Cornell said that while the fourth quarter is “always competitive,” the retailer is entering the holiday period with “lots of confidence.”“While the bulk of the season is still ahead of us, we are very happy to see how these early efforts have set the tone for the season,” Cornell said.Overall U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month, as people spent more at electronics, grocery, clothing and sporting goods stores. Retail sales increased 0.2 percent in October, the Commerce Department said, after a 1.9 percent gain in the previous month. The National Retail… Read full this story
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