"It's almost the opposite story [from Wal-Mart]; terrific sales results, earnings came in very strong," retail analyst Joseph Feldman said moments after Target announced its results. He said CEO Brian Cornell has been doing a great job after a year in the job, and that's "being reflected in the numbers."
The retailer posted fiscal second-quarter earnings of $1.22 per share, up from 78 cents in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $17.43 billion from $17 billion the previous year.
Analysts expected Target to post earnings of $1.11 per share on $17.4 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Target shares were up more than 4.5 percent in premarket action. (Click here to track the stock.)
Feldman, senior managing director at Telsey Advisory Group, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that Target had lost its way for a while. "They've transitioned the head merchant. They're in the process of searching for a head merchant. And there's definitely been some changes at the top."
"They are [now] refocusing on the core business and doing what they do best. They add some fashion to some discounted product," he said.
One of the problems for Target and other retailers is there's no really hot fashion trend right now except for athleisure, wearing workout clothes for everyday, Feldman said. "This whole athleisure trend is here to stay."
Kids nowadays go dressed to school more casually than their parents did, he said. "They're in shorts [and] T-shirts. They're not dressing up collared shirts and jeans and khakis like we all used to when we were kids."
Target said it now expects full-year earnings per share of $4.60 to $4.75, compared with prior guidance of $4.50 to $4.65 a share. In third quarter 2015, the retailer expects earnings per share of 79 cents to 89 cents, compared with 79 cents in third quarter 2014.