MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target Corp. said Thursday a key revenue figure fell 5.5 percent in March because of a later Easter, but the drop was smaller than analysts expected.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected revenue in stores open at least a year, a key measure of a retailer’s health, to fall 6.4 percent.

The discount chain says groceries continued to be its best-selling category in the five weeks ended April 3. Clothing also sold well, particularly workout clothes. Weaker categories included movies, books and home products.

Target says the later Easter particularly hurt sales of candy, clothing and toys.

Regions that performed better than the company average included the Upper Midwest, California and Florida. Weaker performers included the Northeast, Michigan, Ohio and the Southwest.

The chain continues to expect April revenue in stores open at least a year to rise in the mid-teens percentage range.

Target was one of many retailers reporting better-than-expected results. Analysts had expected higher gas prices, cool temperatures and a later Easter to dampen results.

But a broad range of stores from Costco Wholesale Corp. to Victoria’s Secret parent company Limited Brands Inc. posted revenue gains that handily beat Wall Street expectations.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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