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Data-breach costs take toll on Target profit

NEW YORK — Target Corp. will be feeling the financial pain for a while from the theft of credit card numbers and other information from millions of its customers.

The retailer said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit slumped 46 percent. It also reported that revenue slipped 5.3 percent as the breach scared off customers.

During the holiday shopping season, personal data from millions of Target customers was stolen by hackers who targeted credit card terminals in its stores. The incident has scared shoppers away, and the company says its profits will be affected well into 2014.

“As we plan for the new fiscal year, we will continue to work tirelessly to win back the confidence of our guests. … We are encouraged that sales trends have improved in recent weeks,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target.

The data breach comes on top of other woes, including sluggish sales in the U.S. and a disappointing foray into Canada.