Target Sales Surge in Feb., Beat Expectations

The discount retailer said that same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and a key industry barometer-jumped 7 percent last month, and net retail sales rose 8 percent to $5.1 billion.

Target Corporation experienced a significant sales boost in February.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said Thursday that same-store sales-sales at stores open at least a year and a key industry barometer-jumped 7 percent last month, more than the 5.2 percent increase expected by Wall Street analysts.

Meanwhile, net retail sales for the four weeks that ended on February 25 totaled $5.1 billion, representing an 8 percent jump from the same period last year.

“February sales were well above our expectations, due to stronger-than-expected guest traffic combined with a solid increase in transaction size,” Target Chairman, President, and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

Steinhafel said that despite the post-holiday gains, the retailer is still planning for a same-store sales increase of just 4 percent for the first quarter.

Target's announcement about February sales didn't prompt changes to its stock. Shares were trading at about $56.68 on mid-morning Tuesday, on par with Wednesday's close price.

In January, same-store sales jumped 4.8 percent, more than double the modest 2.1 percent increase predicted by analysts, and net retail sales rose 5.1 percent to $4.6 billion.

Target's strong start to 2012 follows a weaker-than-expected December. Despite launching various discounts and promotions in an attempt to capture significant sales during the holiday season, the retailer's same-store sales that month rose 1.6 percent, less than the 3.1 percent increase predicted by analysts.

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 $68.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in January.