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MINNEAPOLIS-During the first quarter, Target opened 15 new discount stores and13 SuperTargets, which also sell groceries. The company expects to open 17 SuperTargets in the next six months and have 150 by the end of 2004—and 400 SuperTarget stores by 2010.

That’s according to Gregg Steinhafel, Target Stores division president, who spoke of the discounter’s expansion plans earlier this week on a conference call with analysts andinvestors. Target has 1,409 stores in 47 states, including 1,081 Target stores.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said earlier this week that its net income climbed 36% to $345 million, or $0.38 a share–beating consensus expectations by $0.02 and the same quarter a year ago by a dime. Revenue for the period ended May 4, including credit-card fees, increased 15% to $9.59 billion.

But analysts were encouraged with the performance of SuperTargets, which include a grocery store component, and which are seen as a critical driver for the company’s future, says Lauri Brunner, a securities analyst at RBC Capital Markets. Target officials say last year’s new SuperTargets were better than the first year performance of SuperTargets opened in previous years–exactly “what we wanted to hear,” Brunner said.

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