OPERATIONS

New goals outlined in Target’s 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Target Corp. has launched four new corporate responsibility goals, including a commitment to making at least 50 owned-brand packaging designs more sustainable by the end of fiscal year 2016. Target’s new goals were announced in conjunction with the release of its 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report.

“When Target launched its corporate responsibility goals in 2011, we reinforced our longstanding commitment to creating a brighter future for our team members, our communities, and the world we live in,” said Tim Baer, executive VP, general counsel and corporate secretary, Target. “Target’s corporate responsibility goals foster greater transparency and accountability on initiatives that help put more U.S. children on the path to graduation, reduce our impact on the environment, and help Target team members and their families live healthy, balanced lives.”

Target’s other newly announced goals are to increase its sustainable seafood selection and to increase the percentage of associates and their families enrolled in a Target health plan completing diabetes HbA1c testing to 87% by the end of fiscal year 2015.

Target also said it plans to establish a baseline that will inform a specific 2013 reading-proficiency outcome goal. The baseline will be influenced by completing an additional 32 Target School Library Makeovers at in-need schools, providing $1.5 million in grants to more than 100 Target School Library Makeover alumni schools to increase reading achievement, and implementing innovative literacy pilots in two additional school districts.

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Ascena buys out Charming Shoppes, squashes Fashion Bug

BY CSA STAFF

SUFFERN, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group has completed its acquisition of Charming Shoppes. The company also plans to cease operating and close down Charming Shoppes’ Fashion Bug business by early 2013, and is exploring a potential sale of Charming Shoppes’ Figi’s business, which markets food and specialty gift products.

In 2011, Charming Shoppes closed 124 Fashion Bug stores. The chain had previously announced its intention to continue to close certain Fashion Bug stores.

Charming Shoppes, whose banners include Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherines Plus Sizes, will operate as a separate subsidiary of Ascena. The combined company now operates approximately 3,800 locations and, on a trailing 12 month basis, generated over $4.4 billion of combined net sales.

“We believe that we have a significant opportunity to fully realize the significant potential of this business,” said David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena. “The Lane Bryant and Catherine’s businesses are extremely complementary to our other concepts and we expect them to integrate seamlessly. Though this process will take time, we believe there is an excellent opportunity to streamline the business, capture efficiencies and to share resources.”

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PetSmart delivers value to shareholders with dividend increase

BY CSA STAFF

PHOENIX — PetSmart shareholders should be pretty pleased with their investment now that the company’s board of directors has raised the quarterly dividend. The board has approved an 18% increase to PetSmart’s quarterly dividend, from 14 cents to 16.5 cents per share beginning in the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

The board of irectors also authorized a new $525 million share purchase authorization that expires in January 2014. This new share purchase authorization will commence on July 30 will be in addition to any unused amount remaining under the June 2011 authorization as of that date.

“The return of excess cash to our shareholders through a combination of dividends and share repurchases reaffirms our commitment to the creation of shareholder value through effectively managing the capital in our business,” said Bob Moran, chairman and CEO. “We believe the stability and predictability of our cash flow demonstrates the continued strength of our business.”

The dividend of 16.5 cents will be paid on Aug. 10 to stockholders of record at the close of business on July 27. This is equivalent to an annual rate of 66 cents per share.

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