NEWS
05/21/2014 09:25 EDT | Updated 07/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Target profit drops 16% as Canada slumps again

Retailer Target continues to lose money in Canada although it's starting to see an uptick in sales, the parent company's quarterly earnings report showed Wednesday.

Target Corp. saw its overall profit decline by 16 per cent to $418-million or 66 cents a share, from $498 million or 78 cents a share during the same time a year ago. That despite a 2.1 per cent uptick in sales from $16.7 billion to $17 billion.

Its Canadian division, which began opening stores in March of 2013, posted sales of $393 million. That's well up from $86 million posted in its inaugural quarter, but the company only had 24 stores at that time. Now they have more than 100.

Target posted an even wider operating loss of $211 million for the quarter, up from $205 million a year ago.

All in all, the company has lost more than $1 billion since opening up shop in Canada.

Target sacked the man in charge of its Canadian operations on Tuesday and replaced him with a company insider with more than 20 years of retail experience.

"First quarter financial performance in both our U.S. and Canadian segments was in line with expectations, reflecting the benefit of continued recovery from the data breach and early signs of improvement in our Canada operations," interim CEO John Mulligan said.

At the same time, Target faces uncertainty about costs related to the pre-Christmas data security breach that saw as many as 40 million customers get their information stolen. Target has yet to pay out any potential claims by the payment card networks for counterfeit fraud losses. And the company said it was unable to estimate future expenses related to the data breach.