Target CEO sounds upbeat at company’s annual meeting

New York City Target Corp.'s chairman, CEO and president Gregg Steinhafel was upbeat in assessing the chain’s business at its annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday as the discounter raised its quarterly dividend by 45%.

But despite the company’s optimism, it is still taking a cautious approach to expansion.

"We are taking nothing for granted," Steinhafel said in a brief address at the company's annual meeting in Boulder, Colo., the Associated Press reported.

Target is set to open 13 stores this year, all in the second and third quarter. Steinhafel described it as the "low point" in its expansion but told investors Target will step up new store openings in 2011.

Steinhafel told shareholders that Target has benefited from changes in marketing and merchandise, from adding perishables to its general merchandise stores to emphasizing low prices in its advertising. The company is also making other changes in its store, including improving sight lines in its shoe department and adding more interactive displays in its video area.

Steinhafel reiterated that Target plans to expand and test smaller formats in urban markets and is exploring expansion overseas for the first time, but didn't provide any more details.

The discounter had said in January that it plans to open stores in Canada, Mexico and Latin America, but not for at least three to five years.

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