TORONTO -- Sales at Target Corp.'s new Canadian stores were better than expected during the first quarter, even as the department store chain reported its overall profits dropped 26 per cent.
"Whenever we open a new store in the U.S., there is a rush of traffic and sales as curious guests shop it for the first time," chief financial officer John Mulligan told investors during a conference call Wednesday.
"But the rush in Canada exceeded our expectations."
The results at Target's Canadian operations were dominated by startup expenses, but the company said they should improve overall earnings by the fourth quarter.
The Canadian stores generated $86 million in sales even though they were, on average, open for just over half the quarter, which ended May 4.
Sales were strongest in home and clothing, categories the company said shoppers tend to hit on their first trip to a Target.
In March, Target opened its first 24 Canadian stores in southern Ontario -- the company's first foray outside the U.S.
-- The Canadian Press