The Australian advertising authority has taken on Target for misleading ads that the retail giant broadcast last year.

Backed by the Federal Court, the authority has forced Target to run a new series of commercials on television apologising for the deceptive campaign, the Australian reported.

It is the first time a company has been found guilty of the offence under the Trade Practices Act and only the second time corrective advertising has been ordered.

The adverts that caused the problem promised to take "25 to 40 per cent off every stitch of clothing", but fine print, which appeared for only 1 1/2 seconds at the end of the ad, said the sale excluded hosiery, underwear, socks and other items classified as accessories.

Professor Fels, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said the decision was a stern warning to businesses to make sure their advertising was accurate and reliable.

"If there's an important qualification in an advertisement, that should be explained fully to consumers," he said.

Target's corrective advertisement acknowledged that the original campaign "failed to adequately inform consumers".

"Target has agreed that this type of advertising is misleading... and that in future, we'll tell you the whole story. So to any consumers who were misled, we're sorry."