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Target’s In-Person Investor Day Canceled Over Coronavirus Fears

Amid coronavirus fears, Target has canceled its in-person investor meeting in New York City, which had been scheduled for tomorrow.

The Minneapolis-based firm said today that it would announce its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Tuesday morning as planned. However, rather than hold its in-person investor meeting in midtown Manhattan, the retail giant will hold a web meeting instead, beginning at 9 a.m. ET.

“Given the rapidly evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus, the Target leadership team has decided to now conduct Tuesday’s Financial Community Meeting remotely from Minneapolis,” a company spokesperson told FN today.

The cancellation of Target’s in-person meeting comes after the first case of coronavirus was reported in New York on Sunday. The virus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected nearly 90,000 globally, with over 3,000 deaths confirmed. It has spread to every continent other than Antartica.

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Amid the outbreak, hundreds of companies have updated their risk disclosures — including Nike, VF. Corp and Capri Holdings Ltd. — warning of potential revenue and profit hits for the fiscal year due to lower sales stemming from store closures in heavily affected areas. Investor fears have heightened because of the outbreak: In the U.S., all three major stock benchmarks  fell into a correction, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its worse losses since the 2008 financial crisis.

In a preliminary holiday sales report in January, Target reported that comparable sales for the final two months of 2019 rose by 1.4%, down from a 5.7% gain a year prior. The chain cautioned that its overall fourth-quarter growth, including January, is expected to be in line with its 1.4% comps for the holiday period — less than half of the 3% to 4% improvement it had previously predicted. Target joined several other retailers in reporting sluggish holiday sales, among them JCPenney, Macy’s and Kohl’s.

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