After Soft Dec., Target Sales Surge in Jan.

After seeing soft holiday sales in December, the retail giant saw a significant jump in same-store sales last month-double the increase that analysts expected and on the high end of the company's own expectations.

Same-store sales for Minneapolis-based Target Corporation jumped 4.8 percent in January-more than double the increase expected by Wall Street.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a more modest 2.1 percent boost in same-stores sales-sales open at least a year and an industry barometer.

Meanwhile, net retail sales for the four weeks that ended on January 28 totaled $4.6 billion, representing a 5.1 percent jump from the same period last year.

“January sales were near the high end of our expected low to mid single-digit range, reflecting strong performance in both discretionary and non-discretionary categories,” Target Chairman, President, and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement. “Sales trends were healthy throughout the month and across the country.”

Shares of Target's stock were trading up about 1.1 percent at $51.98 mid-morning on Thursday following news of its January sales.

Target's strong sales last month follow a weaker-than-expected December. Despite launching various discounts and promotions in an attempt to capture significant sales during the holiday season, Target's same-store sales that month rose 1.6 percent, less than the 3.1 percent increase predicted by analysts.

Year-to-date, Target's same-store sales are up 3 percent, and its net retail sales are up 4.1 percent to $68.5 billion.

Target's fiscal year ended in January, and its sales results for that period will be announced February 23.

The retailer serves customers at 1,767 stores and on its website-and it will expand into Canada next year. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $67.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended in January 2011.

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