FINANCE

Target 1Q Profit Falls

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis First-quarter profits at Target Corp. dropped almost 8% on softer-than-expected sales and higher costs, but the retailer still beat Wall Street earnings estimates for its first quarter.

The retailer on Tuesday reported a profit of $602 million in the three months ended May 3, down from $651 million during the same period last year. Revenue rose 5% to $14.8 billion from $14 billion. Same-store sales fell 0.7%.

In a statement, president and chief executive Gregg Steinhafel said that the profit “met our expectations despite softer-than-expected sales performance.” He added that “the current economic environment remains challenging.”

The company said profit margins declined slightly from last year because sales grew faster in low-margin categories, which generally includes food and essentials such as paper towels.

The company also announced Tuesday that the transaction to sell an undivided interest in approximately 47% of its credit-card receivables to JPMorgan Chase for cash proceeds of about $3.6 billion was completed on Monday, May 19, 2008. The transaction is expected to provide Target with sufficient liquidity to implement its business plans, including previously announced capital investment and share repurchase activity, without the need to access term debt capital markets again this year.

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Kroger reminds families about food safety

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI As the summer grilling season approaches, The Kroger Co.’s family of stores is reminding customers about the four keys to safe grilling: chill, clean, separate and cook.

“Grilling out with family and friends is a terrific summer pastime we can all enjoy. At Kroger, we are partnering with our customers to remind them to follow these easy food safety tips so that every cookout is a success,” said Joe Grieshaber, group VP Kroger’s meat, seafood, deli and produce departments.

For more information about fresh meat and food safety, Kroger invites customers to visit: www.kroger.com/safefood.

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Retail pharmacies partner with Google for new health tool

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Retail pharmacies such as CVS Caremark and Walgreens have partnered with Google to help consumers manage their health care information online through Google’s latest product, Google Health.

Using the Google Health tool, consumers can access vital health information, such as their prescription history. In addition, Google is working with the retailers to better integrate its product with their pharmacies. For example, patients who receive treatment at CVS’s MinuteClinic will be able to securely import their visit summaries into their Google Health Accounts. For its part, Walgreens is offering customers the chance to have their prescription history updated to Google Health on a daily basis.

Google Health is available on the Web at www.google.com/health.

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