The last thing I had on my mind this morning or last night were Target's (NYSE:TGT) same-store sales results. But while browsing the morning news I couldn't help but notice the company reported a 12% gain in same-store sales.

The first thing that popped into my mind was that it's a timing issue attributable to an earlier Easter this year. This appears to be the case as the company expects same-store sales across March and April to drop to between 4% and 6%. If you've done the math in your head you've probably figured out Target expects April's same-store sales to be slightly negative, and that is indeed the case. But getting too high on March's results or too low on April's misses the point that 5% same-store sales results are pretty darn good.

Target's same-store sales were balanced with just about equal increases in traffic and spending per transaction. The strongest markets for the company were the mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and West. 

Given all these factors, it will be interesting to see how dollar shops such as Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) and Target's most direct competitor, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), do in comparison. Target maintains a stable same-store sales performance and it gets a bit of a premium for this. On the flipside, Wal-Mart's same-store sales performance has been less consistent, which is why I think the Inside Value selection is a bit more attractive in the long term. As an investor, it's tough to pick between Wal-Mart and Target, though, as both are quite well run given their size.

Target's results do offer investors a polite reminder that holidays and other timing issues can cause any one month of same-store sales results to be outrageously good or bad. Looking at the quarterly results over a period of many months, and in comparison to last year's results, paint a much better picture.

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Nathan Parmelee had a beneficial interest in shares of Wal-Mart at the time of publication. He had no ownership position in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.