MINNEAPOLIS — As Target Corp. here begins opening its own food distribution facilities, it expects profit margins to expand, even though expenses will rise, the company said during a conference call with analysts to discuss financial results for the second quarter, which ended Aug. 2. “The combination is a very solid economic proposition for us," Gregg Steinhafel, president and chief executive officer, said. Target opened its first semi-automated food distribution center earlier this month in Lake City, Fla., with a second facility due to open in 2009 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Net income for the quarter fell 7.6% to $634 million, while sales rose 5.7% to $15 billion. Comparable-store sales dropped 0.4%. For the half, net income fell 7.5% to $1.2 billion, and sales climbed 5.3% to $29.3 billion, while comps fell 0.6%. Steinhafel said growth in food and consumables continued to outpace other categories.
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