Target Corp. (TGT), the nation's second-largest discount chain, said Thursday that June sales jumped 9 percent at stores open at least a year, outpacing Wall Street estimates.

Strong sales of apparel were a major catalyst for the increase, Target said, while raising its profit outlook for the second quarter ending this month.

Still, the company said it will not maintain this growth rate in July, predicting that same-store sales will increase between 4 percent and 6 percent for the month. Target shares slipped 21 cents to $55.35.

Target had predicted last week that June same-store sales would surpass its earlier guidance for growth of 4 percent and 6 percent. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call (search) expected the company to post growth of 6.9 percent.

Total sales from continuing operations grew 16 percent to $4.58 billion from $3.94 billion in June 2004.

Target said it now expects second-quarter profit of 58 cents per share or more, substantially above its earlier forecast for earnings of 52 cents per share. Analysts currently expect the company to earn 53 cents per share in the second quarter.

So far this year, Target's same-store sales are up 6.7 percent and overall sales have risen 13.4 percent to $19.2 million.