Target's key revenue metric rises 4.3 pct

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target Corp.'s revenue at stores open at least a year rose 4.3 percent in January, easily topping Wall Street's expectations and sending its stock higher in premarket dealings.

The discount chain said Thursday that sales were strong throughout the month across the U.S.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a smaller 2.1 percent increase in the figure.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Its stock gained $1.08, or 2.1 percent, to $52.50 in premarket trading.

Target said that total revenue for the four weeks ended Jan. 28 rose 5.1 percent to $4.61 billion.

"January sales were near the high end of our expected low to mid single-digit range, reflecting strong performance in both discretionary and non-discretionary categories," Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

The company said in a recording that some of its strongest performers were shoes, health care products and boys' and girls' clothing. Some of the weaker categories included electronics and books.

Target, which is based in Minneapolis, said year-to-date revenue at stores open at least a year rose 3 percent, with total revenue up 4.1 percent to $68.47 billion.

For the quarter to date, revenue at stores open at least a year increased 2.2 percent. Total revenue gained 3.3 percent to $20.94 billion.

Last month Target announced that it will team up with unique specialty shops to offer limited edition merchandise. It also confirmed reports that it will test expanded displays of Apple products in 25 stores.

Target runs 1,763 stores in the U.S. It plans to open its first stores in Canada next year.

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