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Pershing Square and Vornado take combined 26.7% stake in J.C. Penney

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Pershing Square Capital Management LP, the New York hedge-fund firm led by activist investor William Ackman, and Vornado, the real estate investment trust, have acquired control of a combined 26.7% of J.C. Penney.

Pershing Square said on Friday it had taken a 16.8% stake in the department store company, making it the retailer’s largest shareholder, while Vornado said in separate regulatory filing that it had acquired a 9.9% stake. Both said they planned to cooperate and would hold talks with management on issues including finances and strategy.

Ackman is well known for buying stock in companies he deems undervalued, particularly in the retail, restaurant and real estate industries, and urges changes he says will boost shareholder returns. His track record is mixed. In 2007, he lost a fight to gain seats on the board of  Target, after calling upon the retailer to undertake complex real estate transactions and sell off its credit-card business. The Borders Group has continued to struggle despite installing new top officers at Ackman?s request.

More recently, Ackman was an architect of a reorganization plan for General Growth Properties, which is poised to emerge from a 19-month-long bankruptcy. On Friday, he was named the chairman of the Howard Hughes Co., an entity spun off from General Growth that holds properties that he believes are currently undervalued.

Industry analysts have described Ackman as a real estate-focused activist.

J.C. Penney owned 416 of the 1,108 stores it operated at the end of January, according to a company filing.

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Shopping centers in breast cancer fundraising event

BY CSA STAFF

Kansas City, Mo. Shopping center developers and retailers are joining Back in the Swing USA to support breast cancer survivors Oct. 11-17 during Back in the Swing Retail Therapy Week. The annual shopping fundraising event, which began in Kansas City eight years ago, is expanding to shopping centers around the country to raise awareness and funds for post-treatment care for breast cancer survivors after breast cancer. Over 80 shopping centers across the country are participating, including centers owned by Developers Diversified Realty, Forest City, Steiner, RED and CBL.

Back in the Swing USA is the first and only national, grassroots nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to providing awareness, access, and financial support for multidisciplinary, personalized, post-treatment clinical and supportive healthcare, and academic medical research in the field of breast cancer survivorship. The organization has partnered with StoreFinancial, an industry-leading provider of gift-card programs, to expand the shopping event nationwide.

During the full week, stores and restaurants in more than 80 shopping centers will dress up in pink ribbons, banners and window stickers to raise awareness of post-treatment care for breast cancer survivors. The shopping centers sell a special Back in the Swing Shopping Card benefiting breast cancer survivors. The card is honored by the participating stores and restaurants of the center where purchased, giving shoppers up to a 20% discount during the week of Oct. 11-17.

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Target slashes toy prices in time for the holidays

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will offer discounts on more than 1,000 toys this holiday season, 250 of which are exclusive to Target.

"From Nerf Stampede and Sing-a-ma-jigs to exclusive Toy Story 3 gift packs, Target features the hottest toys and must-have brands that make great gifts for kids of all ages," said Casey Carl, VP merchandise manager, toys and sporting goods. "And, we also offer the classic toys and games like Barbie, Lego and Monopoly that are found on holiday lists year after year –– all at great prices."

Beginning Oct. 17, Target said it will offer a 5% discount on nearly all purchases made at Target and Target.com when guests use their Target credit cards, which will provide guests additional savings throughout the holiday season.

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