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Target confident about holiday sales outlook

Minneapolis — Target remains confident about the upcoming holiday season, expecting to increase both sales and market share.

"The early reads on Christmas look quite positive so far," said Bob Ulrich, chairman and ceo, during its third quarter conference call yesterday. "We feel good about it."

The company also said its private-label program was doing quite well and is a growing part of the business. At the Target division, president Gregg Steinhafel said that this season will be very robust, as in previous years, and so Target will have very aggressive pricing, particularly in its circulars, and will utilize broadcast advertising. Executives from Mervyn's and Marshall Field's also said that they are planning promotional activities to increase traffic this season.

Target's credit card operations, more specifically the Target Visa, which now has issued 8 million cards since its launch last year, enjoyed strong growth in the third quarter, said Gerry Storch, vice chairman, and receivables now total more than $3 billion.

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