Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Target Corporation's Third Quarter Earnings Release Conference Call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will invite you to participate in a question-and-answer session. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Thursday, November 21, 2013.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Gregg Steinhafel, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Please go ahead, sir.
Gregg W. Steinhafel - Chairman, President and CEO: Thank you. Good morning, and welcome to our 2013 third quarter earnings conference call. On the line with me today are Kathee Tesija, Executive Vice President of Merchandising; and John Mulligan, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
This morning, I'll provide a high level summary of our third quarter results and strategic priorities for the remainder of the year and Kathee will discuss category results, guest insights, and plans for the holiday season; and finally, John will provide more detail on our financial performance along with our financial outlook for the fourth quarter and the year. Following John's remarks, we'll open the phone lines for a question-and-answer session.
As a reminder, we're joined on this conference call by investors and others who are listening to our comments via webcast. Following this conference call, John Hulbert and John Mulligan will be available throughout the day to answer any follow-up questions you may have.
Also, as a reminder, any forward-looking statements that we make this morning are subject to risks and uncertainties, the most important of which are described in our SEC filings.
Finally, in these remarks, we refer to adjusted earnings per share, which is a non-GAAP financial measure. A reconciliation to our GAAP results is included in this morning's press release posted on our Investor Relations website.
Target's third quarter financial results reflect continued strong operating performance in the U.S. despite an environment in which traffic and sales remain challenging. Comparable sales increased 0.9% in the quarter, near the low-end of our guidance and our U.S. operations generated adjusted earnings per share of $0.84 near the midpoint of our expected range. We continue to manage our business thoughtfully investing to maintain our relevance over the long-term, while we focus on disciplined execution to drive current performance. We continually work to anticipate and respond to the ever-changing needs of our guests as we monitor the economy in the competitive landscape.
GDP continues to grow at a painfully slow pace while household income and consumer spending remained constrained. In particular, lower and middle income households are shopping cautiously as they work to stay within very tight household budgets which have seen additional pressure from this year's payroll tax increase.
Consumer confidence, which has been generally recovering since the recession, took a dramatic step backward in October during the government shutdown. This decline was particularly evident in lower and middle income households, and we saw lower-than-expected sell-throughs on Halloween merchandise.