The big box retailer said digital sales also jumped more than 40 percent and raised its earnings outlook for the full year.
Its shares were up almost 6 percent in premarket trading on the news.
Here's what the company reported compared with what analysts were expecting, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters:
- Adjusted earnings per share: $1.47 vs. $1.40 expected
- Revenue: $17.8 billion vs. $17.28 billion expected
- Same-store sales: up 6.5 percent vs. an increase of 4 percent expected
Revenue climbed nearly 7 percent to $17.8 billion from $16.6 billion a year ago, again ahead of an expected $17.28 billion in sales.
Sales at Target stores open for at least 12 months were up 6.5 percent, better than an anticipated increase of 4 percent and the strongest same-store sales growth at Target in 13 years. That consisted of online sales growth of 41 percent, Target said, compared with an increase of 32 percent a year ago.
Looking to the full year, Target now expects to earn between $5.30 and $5.50 per share, adjusted, compared with a prior range of between $5.15 and $5.45 a share in fiscal 2018.
Target has been focused on reinvesting in its business ever since it laid out a strategy at the start of last year to pour $7 billion into expanding its e-commerce platform, bulking up its line-up of in-house brands, opening new small-format stores and remodeling existing locations.
"As we look ahead to 2019, we expect to achieve scale across the full slate of our initiatives — creating efficiencies and cost-savings, further strengthening our guest experience and positioning Target to continue gaining market share," CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement on Wednesday.
The big-box retailer has also been improving its supply chain operations. It acquired Shipt to help speed same-day deliveries, rivaling companies like Kroger, Walmart and Amazon that are looking to do more of the same. Particularly within grocery, however, Target is believed by analysts to have a weaker fresh food offering than its peers. Its revamped and smaller-format stores are starting to include a broader grocery assortment.
Target shares are up about 27 percent so far this year, bringing the retailer's market cap to roughly $44.1 billion. That compares with Walmart, which has a market cap of about $282 billion, while its stock has fallen nearly 3 percent over the same time period.