Things are looking up at Target Corp.

The company announced Wednesday morning that its comparable-store sales increased 1.3 percent compared with the same period last year.

But it’s a different number in the earnings report that truly offers the most reason for hope at the big-box retailer: Its impressive 2.1 percent increase in traffic.

Target had been struggling awhile to deliver healthy growth on that measure. That it did so in the latest quarter suggests it is getting juice from some of its key initiatives. For example, it has focused on steering more of its marketing messaging and in-store signage to emphasize low prices. And it has been working to build more distinctive private brands,…