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Target March sales rise 7.3 percent

Above expectations, retailer lifts Q1 estimates

NEW YORK — Target Corp. says a key sales figure rose a better-than-expected 7.3 percent in March, helped by warm weather.

The Minneapolis discounter boosted its first-quarter earnings outlook based on solid results.

The sales results were above analysts' expectations for a 5.4 percent increase, according to Thomson Reuters. The figure is based on revenue in stores opened at least one year. The metric is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Total sales during the five-week period ended March 31 were $6.43 billion, up 7.9 percent.

Target now believes that earnings per share will be in the range of $1.04 to $1.10 per share, up from prior guidance of 96 cents to $1.07 per share.

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