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Target I: the numbers

MINNEAPOLIS — Widening the performance gap between itself and its rivals, Target Corp. pushed profits and same-store sales up at a sharply faster pace than its primary competitor, Wal-Mart Stores, during the opening quarter, with earnings climbing 14.6 percent, to $494 million, and comps jumping 6.2 percent.

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, moved earnings up at less than half the pace, up just 6.9 percent, its core customer base hit hard by rising gas prices. And Target same-store sales rose more than twice as high as Wal-Mart's, up 6.2 percent versus its rival's 2.8 percent increase in same-store sales.

Overall sales at Target rose 12.7 percent, to $11.2 billion from $9.9 billion. Wal-Mart's total sales advanced at a somewhat slower pace of 9.5 percent.

Target will continue its rollout of new brands this month with Fieldcrest classic and luxury brands for bed and bath; California Classic; the expansion of Isaac Mizrahi; and introduction of Dotty Love, a new tween collection spanning such products as room and hair accessories, apparel and jewelry.

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