(Reuters) - Target Corp cut its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday while turning in a weak first quarter with disappointing sales, as a chilly start to spring kept shoppers from buying seasonal items like clothing.

Target warned in April its first-quarter results would be weaker than anticipated, and its performance was even worse than revised Wall Street expectations.

Shares of Target fell 2.3 percent to $69.60 in premarket trading.

First-quarter sales at U.S. stores open at least a year dipped 0.6 percent, while analysts targeted a 0.03 percent decline, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Back in April, Target forecast that same-store sales would be about flat versus its previous outlook of flat to up 2 percent.

Shoppers held off from buying spring merchandise, including clothing to fans and garden supplies, as a chilly start to the season left them little reason to splurge. Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted an unexpected 1.4 percent decline in same-store sales at its Walmart U.S. unit.

PROFIT DOWN

Target earned $498 million, or 77 cents per share, in the first quarter ended on May 4, compared with a profit of $697 million, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier.

Including the effects from opening Canadian stores, but excluding losses related to the early retirement of debt and gains from the sale of its credit card business, Target earned 82 cents per share. On that basis, analysts looked for 85 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Target now expects adjusted earnings of $4.70 to $4.90 per share this year, down from its April forecast of $4.85 to $5.05.

Analysts, on average, were looking for $4.48 per share this year.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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