Excluding the Easter months, which skew results, Target's increase was the biggest since November 2007 when the figure soared 10.8 percent. That was one month before the recession officially started.
Target, however, said it continues to plan for an increase of around 4 percent for the fiscal first quarter. That suggests that executives believe there's the possibility business could be pulled forward.
Department-store chain Macy's Inc., which has had solid results since the recession thanks to its focus on tailoring merchandise to different regions, also reported a sales gain that beat Wall Street estimates. It posted a 4.6 percent increase, better than 3.5 percent increase Wall Street expected.
"We saw good consumer response to our early spring deliveries in women's apparel, and continued strong trends in accessories, shoes, cosmetics, men's and home, which bodes well for the months ahead," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy's in a statement.
Even Gap Inc., which has suffered throughout the recession, said revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 4 percent in February. Analysts had expected a 1.4 percent drop. The figure was helped by strong demand for spring clothing at its Banana Republic chain, but the North America's divisions of its namesake chain and Old Navy also enjoyed gain. Its international business had a decline.
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