Target Hikes Earnings Estimate (TGT)

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Big box retailer Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) this morning announced a 7.3% same-store sales boost in March compared with March 2011. The company’s CEO was pleasantly surprised:

March sales were well above our expectations, reflecting a healthy underlying trend combined with the benefit of an earlier Easter and favorable weather this year.

Year-to-date same-store sales are up 7.2%.

The company also raised its first-quarter adjusted EPS forecast from $0.97-$1.07 to $1.04-$1.10, saying that the increase “represents the EPS impact in the first quarter of expected expenses related to the company’s Canadian market entry slightly offset by the favorable resolution of income tax uncertainties.” The consensus estimate called for EPS of $0.97.

Target’s shares are up 1.2% at $58.52 in a 52-week range of $45.28-$58.95.