Department store operator Kohl's Corp posted a lower quarterly profit that just beat Wall Street's expectations as it managed to show a slight increase in sales.

Kohl's also raised its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday, citing its first-quarter results.

Shares rose 2.5 percent in light premarket

trade.

Net profit fell to $137 million or 45 cents per share, for the first quarter ended May 2, from $153 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.

But the profit beat analysts' average expectation of 44 cents per share by a penny, according to Reuters Estimates.

Its sales rose about 0.4 percent to $3.64 billion in the quarter, a standout among department stores. Kohl's typically has lower priced items than other chains and often uses discounts to lure in shoppers.

The recession, mounting job losses and tight access to credit have forced consumers to turn thrifty and spend only on items they really need.

Macy's Inc , for instance, posted a 9.5-percent drop in first-quarter sales a day earlier, and stuck to its forecast for sales to fall for the full year.

For the second quarter, Kohl's expects to earn 56 cents per share to 64 cents per share, in line with analysts' expectation for a profit of 62 cents per share.

It also raised its full-year per-share profit forecast to $2.19 to $2.42, based on its first-quarter results. It had earlier expected $2.00 to $2.30 per share. Analysts expect $2.55 a share.

Kohl's shares were up to $43.00 from Wednesday's close of $41.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)