General merchandise retailer Target experienced a profit fall from $602m to $522m (£379.4m to £329m) in the first quarter to May 2.

Like-for-like sales in its retail arm deteriorated 3.2 per cent while total sales rose 0.4 per cent to $14.4bn (£9.08bn). It is the fifth consecutive quarter that Target’s sales growth has lagged behind rival’s Wal-Mart.

In the previous four years Target’s sales growth frequently exceeded Wal-Mart’s. Investor Pershing Square is citing Target’s weak performance in its case for drafting in its own directors to the business.