Despite Economy, Target Posts Surprise Jump in Sales


Easing worries about consumers’ ability to withstand recent economic turbulence, Target (NYSE:TGT) revealed on Thursday it grew its September same-store sales by a stronger-than-expected 5.3%.

The Minneapolis-based discounter, which is the largest retailer to report monthly results, said its net retail sales jumped 6.5% last month to $5.92 billion.

Sales at comparable stores climbed 5.3%, exceeding forecasts from analysts for a rise of just 3.9%.

“We experienced strong sales results throughout the month and across a broad array of merchandise categories, demonstrating Target’s ability to deliver on both sides of our ‘Expect More. Pay Less’ brand promise and generate strong financial performance even in this soft economic environment,” CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

Looking ahead, Target forecasted same-store sales would rise in the low-to-mid single digits this month, despite ongoing worries about the economy and volatility in the financial markets.

Shares of Target rallied 1.90% to $50.45 on the news, putting them on pace to trim their 2011 loss of almost 9%.

The discounter was among a slew of retailers reporting surprisingly solid September results, including luxury department store Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), apparel maker Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD) and Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS).