Target Q3 profit up 3.7%, beats expectations

Minneapolis -- Target Corp.’s profit increased a better-than-expected 3.7% in the third quarter to $555 million, up from $535 a year earlier. The retailer’s performance was helped by solid spending and improvement in its credit card business.

Revenue rose 5.4% to $16.05 billion. Same-store sales were up 4.3% in the quarter.

“We're very pleased with our third-quarter financial results," said Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president and CEO in a statement. "We're confident that we have the right strategy and team in place to drive continued strong performance this holiday season and well into the future."

Target said that its third-quarter average receivables for its credit card segment declined 9.9% to $6.2 billion in 2011 from $6.9 billion in the same period a year ago. Bad debt expense was $40 million during the third quarter, down from $110 million in the year-ago period.

Target REDcards, which include credit cards and debit cards, were used for 9.5% of sales at Target stores during the quarter, up from 5.5% a year ago.