MINNEAPOLIS — With first-quarter profits down 8 percent and the economy in a funk, Target is emphasizing the "pay less" part of its "Expect More, Pay Less" slogan.

The nation's second-largest discount retailer said softer-than-expected sales and higher costs caused the profit decline for the quarter that ended May 3, although the results beat Wall Street expectations.

With consumers tightening their belts, Target President and Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said on a conference call that Target is responding by stressing sale prices more in its advertising, especially the 50 million newspaper circulars it puts out, as well as with sale items at the end of its aisles.

Target reported a profit of $602 million, or 74 cents per share, in the three months ended May 3, down from $651 million, or 75 cents per share, during the same period last year. Revenue rose 5 percent to $14.8 billion.