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Target Showing Symptoms of a Big Decline

Is Target headed towards the same fate as Sears? Analysis of the discount retailer’s latest numbers suggest it’s possible.

According to a Seeking Alpha report, Target reported a small revenue decline on Oct. 31 of last year compared with the year prior; the firm declared $73.7 billion in TTM revenue, compared with $73.81 billion the same period in 2013.

While the drop is far from catastrophic, the numbers show a more troubling picture when held up against Target’s top rivals. Wal-Mart, Kroger and Costco all reported a multibillion-dollar revenue increase in the same period. Wal-Mart saw a $9.43 billion increase, Kroger saw a $7.31 billion increase, and Costco Wholesale saw an $8.03 billion increase, reports say.

Those figures, analysts suggest, show a retail recovery in the U.S. in which Target is not participating.

Is this the beginning of a long fall for the once-mighty retail chain? Not yet, experts say, but the numbers suggest Target is losing market share to its rivals, and could be on the brink of showing a reverse-growth pattern seen in Kmart owner Sears Holdings.

Target has also historically struggled to anticipate and quickly adopt consumer habit changes like online shopping. The Third Quarter 2014 stats also show that Amazon.com has overtaken Target in revenue for the first time – Amazon.com reported $85.25 billion in revenue for that quarter, more than $11.5 billion more than Target.

Target held onto the fourth-place spot of STORES/Kantar’s 2014 list of top U.S. retailers, but experts say Amazon.com is a strong contender to replace Target on that list next year.

Amazon.com came in at No. 9 on the STORES/Kantar list, making it the first time an e-retailer appeared on the Top 10.

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