Target Sales Up in July, Beat Wall Street

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted a 3.7 percent jump in the retailer's same-store sales-a key industry barometer-but the company reported a 4.1 percent rise.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation's same-store sales rose 4.1 percent in July-beating Wall Street estimates and on the high end of the company's own expectations.

Same-store sales refer to sales at stores that have been open for at least a year, and the figure serves as an industry barometer. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 3.7 percent increase in July.

“We're very pleased with Target's July sales performance, which again was at the high end of our expected range,” Target Chairman, President, and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement. “In addition, back-to-school sales are off to a solid start, contributing to our confidence in the strategies we have in place and our ability to execute them, especially as we head into the 2011 holiday season.”

Net retail sales for the four weeks that ended on July 30 totaled $4.84 billion, representing a 5.6 percent jump from the same period last year.

Year-to-date, Target's same-store sales are up 2.9 percent, and its net retail sales are up 3.9 percent to $31.48 billion.

Target-which operates a retail segment and a credit-card segment-now serves customers at 1,762 stores in 49 states nationwide and on its Web site. It is Minnesota's second-largest public company based on its revenue, which totaled $65.4 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.