Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT): Target shares are trading lower as the retailer’s Canadian performance fell short of some analyst expectations. Earnings per share of 54 cents missed by 10 cents and revenue of $17.26 billion missed by $0.13 billion. Comparable-store sales gained just 0.9 percent in the U.S. during the quarter, and Target’s gross margin rate dropped 30 bps in light of rate pressure in key categories.
Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF): EPS of 52 cents was enough to beat estimates by 8 cents, though revenue of $1.03 billion missed by $0.03 billion and represents a 12 percent year-on-year decline. While the company beat earnings projections, the guidance warning just a few weeks ago set investors up for it. Comparable store sales growth (or lack thereof) by brand was down across the board, with Abercrombie & Fitch down 13 percent, Abercrombie Kids down 4 percent, and Hollister off by 16 percent. Moreover, Abercrombie’s gross profit rate fell 130 bps to 63 percent due to inventory charges.
Actavis PLC (NYSE:ACT): Actavis states that its Specialty Brands sales operations now have 750 U.S. sales professionals, down from the 1,100 or so it had after the close of the Warner Chilcott acquisition. The Specialty Brands president said that initially there was “significant overlap in key areas” but the company is “committed to supporting those professionals who were not selected as a result of this review process with appropriate severance benefits and support including outplacement services.”
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN): Amazon announced that it sealed an exclusive deal with A24 to land the content rights for the latter’s movies for Amazon Prime just after they become available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Recent flicks such as Spring Breakers and The Bling Ring are included under the terms.
Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX): Blackstone has snagged the CEO of Nielsen Holdings, who will join Blackstone as a senior managing director and head of Private Equity Portfolio Operations. David Calhoun will also sit on Blackstone’s management and executive committees. Calhoun has been with Nielsen since 2006, just after it was acquired by a consortium led by Blackstone.