updated 5/18/2005 5:24:59 PM ET 2005-05-18T21:24:59

Target Corp., the nation’s second biggest discount retailer, expects to add more than 600 stores within the next five years, giving it a total of about 2,000 stores, executives said Wednesday. Its shares rose 3 percent.

Target operates 1,331 stores, including 141 SuperTarget stores that include grocery stores. President Gregg Steinhafel told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting that about a quarter of its new stores will be SuperTargets.

Looking beyond five years, Target can double the number of stores and triple the volume of merchandise it sells before it will exhaust its growth possibilities in the United States, Chairman and CEO Bob Ulrich told reporters after the meeting.

Given such potential, he said Target has no immediate plans to expand outside the United States.

Target is second only to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. among U.S. discount retailers. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., had 3,719 U.S. stores as of April 30. Wal-Mart has said it will add 40 to 45 stores through Feb. 1, 2006, and 240 to 250 Supercenters, which include grocery stores.

Target vice-chairman Jerry Storch said Target is continuing to expand its square footage by 8 percent to 10 percent a year. Wal-Mart has said it will expand its square footage by about 8 percent this year.

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