UPDATE 1-Target's holiday season comparable sales up 5.7 pct

(Reuters) – Retailer Target Corp (TGT.N) said on Thursday comparable sales grew 5.7 percent for the last two months of the year on the back of a robust holiday selling season that was driven by strong online sales and customer visits. The company had expected same-stores sales growth of about 5 percent for the fourth quarter ending January, while comparable sales had grown 3.4 percent in the November-December period last year. Target also said Chief Financial Officer Cathy Smith plans to retire and would continue in her role until a successor is named. All of the retailer’s core categories grew during the holiday season, with toys, baby and seasonal gift items being the strongest. Target reaffirmed its full-year forecast on Thursday as well and expects 2018 to be the fifth consecutive year in which digital sales grow more than 25 percent. Store pickup and drive-up grew more than 60 percent from a year ago, and accounted for a quarter of the company’s digital sales in the holiday period, Target said. Department store operator Kohls Corp (KSS.N) reported a 1.2 percent rise in comparable sales for the same period on Thursday, while raising its full-year profit forecast.

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