Target Corp.'s revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 4.1 percent in August, driven by back-to-school shopping. The results announced Thursday topped Wall Street's forecast.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 3.5 percent increase. This metric is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
"August comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations, reflecting solid results in our back-to-school and back-to-college categories," Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.
In a prerecorded call, Target said that the monthly results were helped by an increase in average transaction size and got a boost of one-half of a percentage point as shoppers in the East headed to its stores to prepare for Tropical Storm Irene.
Many of those shoppers likely picked up some groceries, which saw an increase in the mid- to upper teens for the month. Health and beauty supplies also performed well, while jewelry accessories and home goods were among the softest categories.
The discount chain said that total revenue for the four weeks ended Aug. 27 rose 5.4 percent to $5.29 billion.
Year-to-date revenue at stores open at least a year increased 3.1 percent, with total revenue up 4.1 percent to $36.77 billion.
Looking ahead, Target anticipates a low- to mid- single-digit increase in revenue at stores open at least a year in September.
Earlier this month Target reported that its second-quarter profit and revenue beat analysts' estimates in part because of a growing frugal trend among Americans who are concerned with job security and other economic woes.
The Minneapolis company has 1,762 stores in 49 states.
Target's stock rose 26 cents to $51.93 in premarket trading.