Target sees December sales increase

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target Corp. says better-than-expected customer traffic helped a key sales comparison rise in December.

The discount chain says it expects fourth-quarter earnings to “meet or exceed” analyst expectations of $1.11 per share.

Target says sales in stores open at least a year rose 1.8 percent during the five weeks ended Jan. 2. It says sales were strong during the crucial holiday month in categories ranging from toys to food.

Analysts expected sales in stores open at least a year to fall 0.2 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year are a key measure of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones.

Total sales rose 5 percent to $9.74 billion.