NEW YORK (
was upgraded by Citi on Wednesday to buy as same-store sales trends improve, sending shares in the company higher immediately after the opening bell.
Citi lifted the discounter from sell and raised its price target to $61 to $44.
Target's increased focus in its food category has helped boost sales. Improved inventory levels in apparel and greater demand in home furnishing, a category that has been struggling over the past year, along with easier comparisons, could turn same-store sales positive next year.
Margins are also getting stronger from Target's private-label apparel.
Citi also cited better productivity such as improved labor scheduling, rigorous expense-line reviews, increased management accountability and in-store technology investments.
Target has been gearing up for the holiday season, lowering prices on key items like toys and books in an effort to compete with rivals like
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York
Follow TheStreet.com on
and become a fan on
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.