updated 11/11/2004 10:30:47 AM ET 2004-11-11T15:30:47

Target Corp., the second-largest discount chain in the United States, said Thursday that third-quarter earnings nearly doubled due to a hefty gain on the sale of its Mervyn's unit, as well as same-store sales growth and new store expansion.

Net income rose to $537 million, or 60 cents per share, from $302 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding discontinued operations and a $203 million gain on the sale of its Mervyn's retail unit, but including a 1-cent charge for store lease accounting, Target posted earnings of $330 million, or 37 cents per share, in the latest quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for the company to post earnings of 38 cents per share on sales of $10.86 billion in the latest quarter.

Total revenue increased 11 percent to $10.91 billion from $9.83 billion in the 2003 period, driven by a 4.5 percent increase in sales at stores open at least one year, as well as new store expansion and Target's credit card operations.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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