US retailer Target Corp. has admitted "soft" sales during the first quarter of the year hit earnings during the period.

The company, which runs the SuperTarget discount stores, yesterday (20 May) posted first-quarter net income of US$602m - compared to $651m a year earlier.

Sales rose 5% to $14.3bn but, on a comparable-store basis, sales dipped 0.7%.

Nevertheless, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said the company's first-quarter performance had "met expectations despite softer-than-expected sales".

Steinhafel added: "Though the current economic environment remains challenging, we will continue to generate long-term value for our shareholders by remaining focused on the disciplined execution of our strategy."