* Had previously forecast low-single digit drop in comp sales
* Sees profit above forecast range of $0.95-$1.15/shr
* Shares up almost 6 pct premarket (Adds details, updates shares)
July 13 (Reuters) - Target Corp said on Thursday it expects a “modest” increase in second-quarter comparable sales, the first rise in five quarters, helped by improved traffic and sales trends in the first two months of the quarter ending July.
The retailer had previously forecast a low single-digit decline in comparable sales. Its shares were up almost 6 percent at $53.75 in premarket trading.
Target also said on Thursday it expects second-quarter profit to come in above its forecast range of $0.95 to $1.15 per share, helped by a net tax effect related to its global sourcing operations.
The company, which has been trying to turn around its business for several years, has been hit hard by a price war among retailers led by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Target in February vowed to aggressively promote its products and keep grocery prices low to compete better, while sprucing up stores and investing heavily in its e-commerce business.
The retailer said on Thursday it was pleased with initial results from Target Restock, a next-day home delivery service being tested in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc also said this week it was expecting second-quarter sales to significantly improve from the first quarter.
Target will report second-quarter results on Aug. 16. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta)