FINANCE

Class-action lawsuits stack up against Target

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — In the wake of Target’s massive data breach first revealed on Thursday, three class-action lawsuits have been filed against the retailer, seeking more than $5 million in damages.

Target confirmed that the data theft involving 40 million credit and debit card holders’ accounts occurred over a 19-day period that stretched from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, three of Target’s busiest shopping weeks of the year.

Because of the breach, at least 2 million shoppers who used bank debit cards at Target stores during the breach period are facing lower limits on how much cash they can take out of teller machines and spend at stores. The limitations, which are occurring during shoppers’ last-minute holiday purchasing time frames, are causing outrage among affected customers.

"This is the worst possible time something like this could happen," one industry analyst told the Wall Street Journal.

The large-scale security breach occurred at all 1,800 Target retail stores, and goes down as the second biggest of its kind, sitting only behind TJX Cos. March 2007 data breach.

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FINANCE

Jos. A. Bank rejects Men’s Wearhouse purchase bid

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hampstead, Md. – The board of directors of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. has unanimously rejected a non-binding acquisition proposal it received on Nov. 26, 2013, from The Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. Assisted by outside financial advisors, the board determined the price of roughly $1.54 billion significantly undervalued the company and its near and long-term potential and was not in the best interest of the company’s shareholders.

Jos. A. Bank said it is reviewing all alternatives regarding potential strategic acquisition opportunities. Men’s Wearhouse rejected a purchase offer of about $2.3 billion from Jos. A. Bank in October 2013, saying the bid was too low and trying to take advantage of turmoil in the wake of executive chairman and founder George Zimmer leaving acrimoniously in June.

"Our board undertook a thorough review and determined that the per share consideration in the proposal made to us by Men’s Wearhouse was simply not in the best interest of our shareholders,” said Robert N. Wildrick, chairman of Jos. A. Bank. “At the same time, we continue to review acquisition opportunities that would represent a strong strategic fit with our company and provide an opportunity to leverage our core competencies to drive meaningful growth, synergies and substantial value creation over the long term."

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Consumer spending rises 0.5% in November

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – U.S. household purchases rose 0.5% in November 2013. According to new figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, this followed a 0.4% increase in October that was larger than previously reported and is the largest increase since July 2013.

Holiday discounts helped boost consumer spending, which constitutes about 70% of the U.S. economy. The increase matched Bloomberg forecasts and came even as consumer incomes rose less than anticipated due to stagnant farm incomes. Durable goods such as cars, furniture and appliances showed especially strong sales.

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