US discount retailer Target today (18 August) insisted its second-quarter earnings were “stronger than expected” despite a 6% fall in sales driving down profits.

The company booked net income of US$594m for the three months to 1 August, down from $634m a year earlier. Comparable-store sales fell 6.2%, which led turnover to dip by 2.7%. Gross margins, however, rose from 31.2% to 31.9%.

Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said: “Looking forward to the second half of the year, we are focused on initiatives to drive incremental traffic and sales in our stores while maintaining disciplined execution in both of our business segments.”

Click here for the full second-quarter press release from Target. Check back later for further comment from chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.