(Corrects analyst sales estimate in paragraph 4 to $16.58 billion from $16.63 billion)
NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - Target Corp reported a slightly better than expected 3 percent rise in comparable sales in the first quarter, helped by traffic at its stores and website, but the company's profit came in below analyst forecasts.
Analysts on average had expected sales at stores open at least a year to increase 2.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Excluding items, Target earned a profit of $1.32 per share in the quarter ended May 5, below the average estimate of $1.39 per share.
Sales rose to $16.78 billion, topping the average estimate of $16.58 billion. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)