Target Corp., the second largest U.S. retailer, reported a profit which beat Wall Street forecasts as the company's chief financial officer said sluggish sales were ahead.

The discount retailer reported a net income of $602 million, or 74 cents per share, down 7.5 percent compared to net income during the same quarter a year ago of $651 million, or 75 cents per share. Revenue was up 5.4 percent to $14.8 billion.

Analysts had been expecting a profit of 71 cents per share with $14.92 billion in Revenue according to Thomson Reuters.

Our first quarter earnings per share met our expectations despite softer-than-expected sales performance, said Gregg Steinhafel, president and chief executive officer.

During a conference call with analysts, chief financial officer Doug Scovanner said that analysts' expectations of full year earnings of $3.47 per share were likely within a reasonable range of possibilities, according to Reuters. He added that the company's outlook is somewhat softer that some analysts' target earnings of 79 cents for the second quarter.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company said its retail segment earned $959 million, down 2.2 percent from $980 million in 2007. Sales were $14.3 billion, up 5 percent. Credit card revenues were up 19.8 percent to $500 million.

Target also said today that it will sell about 47 percent of its credit card debt to JPMorgan Chase for cash proceeds of $3.6 billion.

Shares of Target fell 70 cents, or 1.27 percent to $54.22.