MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target said Thursday a key sales figure rose 4.1 percent in July as shoppers picked up more groceries and health and beauty products.

The comparison is important because it excludes results from stores that recently opened or closed. Analysts expected a smaller 3.7 percent rise.

Target had forecast a low- to mid-single digit percentage rise for the month.

The discount retailer says total revenue for the four weeks ended July 30 rose 6 percent to $4.84 billion.

Minneapolis-based Target says shoppers spent more per transaction.

Target’s results echoed other retailers’, who are reporting solid sales gains for July as deep discounts and sweltering heat drove shoppers to air conditioned malls. But with growing concerns about the economy, analysts worry shoppers heading back to malls for back-to-school shopping will hold tight to some of the habits of the Great Recession — focusing on necessities and waiting for big discounts.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel offered a more positive view.

“Back-to-school sales are off to a solid start, contributing to our confidence in the strategies we have in place and our ability to execute them, especially as we head into the 2011 holiday season.” and CEO Gregg Steinhafel in a statement.

In the second quarter, the revenue figure rose 3.9 percent and total revenue rose 5.1 percent to $15.9 billion. Analysts expected $16.07 billion.

Year-to-date, revenue in stores open at least one year rose 2.9 percent while total sales rose 3.9 percent to $31.46 billion.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. expects August revenue in stores open at least one year to rise in the low- to mid-single digits.

Its shares rose 11 cents to $49.86 in premarket trading.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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