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Traffic at Target stores falls after data breach: WSJ

Merchandise baskets are lined up outside a Target department store in Palm Coast, Florida, December 9, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing
Merchandise baskets are lined up outside a Target department store in Palm Coast, Florida, December 9, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

(Reuters) - In the wake of a massive data breach, Target Corp suffered reduced customer traffic over one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The number of transactions at Target fell 3 to 4 percent compared with last year's final weekend before Christmas, while, transactions at other retailers were strong, the Journal said, citing estimates by retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners LLC.

Target said on Thursday that hackers had stolen data from as many as 40 million credit and debit cards of shoppers who visited its stores during the first three weeks of the holiday season.

At least 2 million shoppers who used bank debit cards at Target stores during its recent data breach are facing lower limits on how much cash they can take out of teller machines and spend at stores.

"This is the worst possible time something like this could happen," Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners told the Journal. (http://link.reuters.com/zyg65v)

The consultancy firm estimates that U.S. retail sales on Saturday totaled $17 billion, exceeding those on Black Friday by $2 billion, according to the paper.

A Target spokeswoman declined to comment to the Journal specifically on this weekend's results, saying the retailer reports sales on a quarterly basis.

Target could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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