Target says sales at stores open at least one year, a key measure of a retailer's strength, rose 5.5 percent during the of November. That was better than analysts expected.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans analyst Dave Heupel said the Minneapolis discount retailerhas been expanding grocery and produce sections in many stores.
Shoppers seem enthused about the company's 5-percent discounts on all Target purchases made with Target debit or credit cards, he said.
"The P-Fresh remodels they're doing, where they have that fresh produce, is driving traffic," Heupel said. "And then this was the first real month we had comps with that 5 percent off if you use the credit card. The bottom line is: strong start for Target."
Reports from other retailers are giving industry watchers some hope the holiday shopping season will be much cheerier than it has been the past two years.
U.S. retailers posted their best sales gains in four years in November.