Will Target’s New Strategy Drive Sales or Hurt Margins?

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Just before Target (NYSE:TGT) reported that sales for the five-week period ended December 29 grew just 0.8 percent compared to last year, JPMorgan reiterated an “Overweight” rating on the stock with a slightly-revised price target of $74.00.

The bank forecasts strong 2013 and 2014 performance for the discount retailer, which has seen its stock price grow 26 percent over the past 52 weeks. Target’s entry into the Canadian market was cited as a catalyst for future earnings growth, although the company is expecting to take an earnings hit of up to $0.19 per share in the fourth quarter due to related expenses.

JPMorgan’s price target reflects a 20 percent potential upside to the stock, and the bank is sticking to its guns. Already one of the largest institutional shareholders of the stock, JPMorgan increased its stake in Target by over 29 percent…

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