Target Tops Estimates

Third-quarter earnings rise 16%.
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Target

(TGT) - Get Report

reported a 16% rise in third-quarter profits Thursday, beating Wall Street's expectation, as the retailer continued to see healthy same-store sales growth.

The Minneapolis-based discount retailer earned $506 million, or 59 cents a share, up from $435 million, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier. The results topped the Thomson First Call mean analyst estimate for earnings of 55 cents a share.

Target's total revenue climbed to $13.57 billion from $12.2 billion, driven by the contribution from new store expansion, a 4.6% increase in same-store sales and the role of the company's credit card operations.

"We are pleased with our third-quarter and year-to-date results," said Bob Ulrich, chairman and chief executive of Target. "We continue to believe that our strategic discipline, consistent execution, and commitment to deliver the right combination of innovation, design and value will delight our guests and produce profitable market share growth in this year's fourth quarter and well beyond."

Target's better-than-expected results stand in contrast to its larger discount rival,

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, which on Tuesday posted only a 7% rise in earnings from continuing operations on weaker-than-expected U.S. sales. As the holiday season approaches, Wal-Mart has aggressively begun launching discounts on goods like electronics and toys to keep rivals like Target at bay.

For its part, Target said late Monday that its November same-store sales are on track for 4% to 7% growth.

Shares of Target were up $1.29, or 2.2%, to $59.05 in premarket trading.