Discount retailer Target Corp. said Thursday that a key revenue measure rose more than expected in July, as more shoppers visited its stores and spent more on their purchases.
The Minneapolis-based chain said revenue at stores open at least a year rose 3.1 percent in the four weeks ended July 28.
The increase was greater than Wall Street predicted. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 2.7 percent growth.
Revenue in stores open at least one year is a key gauge of a retailer's health, because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Total sales for the month rose 3.2 percent, to $5 billion.
Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president and CEO, credited the company's merchandizing strategy, store remodeling and rewards programs with boosting store traffic and sales, despite a tough consumer spending environment.
The results echoed data from other retailers like Costco that showed solid gains in July sales. The gains may reflect a report Tuesday that said consumer confidence edged up last month, the first increase in five months, as the job market eased a bit and gas prices slipped.
Target said food was its strongest category last month, posting a "low double-digit" comparable revenue increase, while health and beauty recorded "mid single-digit" same-store revenue growth.
Comparable July revenue from both home and hardline products, such as household items, fell by mid single-digits, Target said.
For August, the company projected a "low-to-mid single-digit increase" in revenue at stores open at least a year.
For the second quarter, revenue at stores open at least a year rose 3.1 percent, while total sales increased 3.5 percent to $16.45 billion. That fell a bit short of the $16.81 billion in quarterly sales forecast, on average, by analysts surveyed by FactSet.
For the first six months of the year, revenue at stores open at least a year rose 4.2 percent, while total sales increased 4.8 percent to $32.99 billion.
Target is expected to report full quarterly results on Aug. 15.
In premarket trading, Target shares added 66 cents to $61.28. The stock closed Wednesday at $60.62, up 18 percent since the start of the year.