OPERATIONS

Alliance Data in new multi-agreement with Canada’s Toys ‘R’ Us

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems Corp. announced that its Canadian coalition loyalty business has signed a new multi-year agreement with Toys “R” Us, Canada to issue air miles reward miles in its 73 stores across Canada effective March 23, 2012.

The Air Miles Reward Program is Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program, with approximately two-thirds of Canadian households actively collecting reward miles.

“This partnership further strengthens our presence and impact in the important specialty retail sector,” said Bryan Pearson, president of LoyaltyOne. “Coupled with a number of Air Miles specialty retail partnerships announced in 2011, we continue to pursue growth in this category given its positive issuance potential and broad consumer appeal within Canada.”

Following a 2011 pilot in which select Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores issued Air Miles reward miles, this new agreement provides for reward miles issuance in all Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us locations across Canada.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks opens its first Evolution Fresh juice bar

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks Corp. opened its first-ever juice bar under its newest brand, Evolution Fresh. The shop, which also features wraps, soups, salads and vegetarian items, is located in Bellevue, Wash.

Starbucks purchased the Evolution Fresh juice brand in November 2011 for $30 million. The coffee giant plans to roll out Evolution Fresh juices to its coffee shops later this year.

The new store features a patent-pending interactive juice wall that displays educational and entertaining digital illustrations of juices and smoothies being handcrafted.

In addition, Evolution Fresh is designed and constructed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The store uses locally sourced materials and reused and recycled components, as well as elements that lend to water and energy conservation and waste reduction.

Starbucks also announced Monday that its Seattle’s Best Coffee division opened a new coffee drive-thru format in Northlake, Ill. The company said the store is geared toward meeting the needs of commuters.

The drive-thru offers coffee, fresh-baked food items like muffins, car-friendly breakfast sandwiches and snacks.

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News

Target completes share repurchase program

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Target has completed its $10 billion share repurchase program.

The program, which was authorized by the retailer’s board of directors in November 2007, represents the repurchase of 193.5 million shares, or nearly 23% of its outstanding shares from that time period, at an average price of $51.68 per share.

Target will continue to repurchase shares under the $5 billion program approved by its board of directors in January, which it expects to complete in the next two to three years.

"Target’s completion of the 2007 share repurchase program demonstrates our long-standing commitment to return cash to shareholders through both dividends and share repurchase," said John Mulligan, incoming EVP and chief financial officer of Target. "Through disciplined financial management, Target continues to generate far more cash than we need to fund appropriate reinvestment in our core businesses. As a result, we intend to continue to invest in the repurchase of shares under our January 2012 authorization."

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