Sales at Target stores open at least one year rose 2.4 percent in October, compared with the same month a year ago.
The so-called same-store sales measure is a key industry benchmark, because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Last month, the retailer's customers spent more on food and health and beauty items, but the number of people shopping Target was even with a year ago.
Analysts had expected a bigger 3.3 percent sales increase.
But Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said he's optimistic about the upcoming holiday shopping season, which can account for up to 40 percent of a retailer's annual sales.
Through Dec. 16, Target will match prices customers find on identical products at leading online competitors, including Amazon.com. And through Christmas Eve, Target stores will match advertised prices of brick-and-mortar competitors, as well as prices found on Target's website.