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Price wars, second verse

The battle over the accuracy of price comparisons between Kmart and Target appears to be over. What remains unclear is just who won.

Last week, both claimed victory as Target withdrew a motion seeking a temporary restraining order against Kmart. A week earlier, Target filed suit against Kmart, charging it with using false prices in its "Dare To Compare" campaign.

Kmart has since pulled the ads, simultaneously launching a national ad campaign last week to promote the BlueLight Always program that lowered prices on 30,000 items.

"We are pleased that Kmart's deceptive advertising campaign has stopped, but the real winner is the consumer," stated Target executive vp/general counsel James Hale in a press release.

However, Kmart contends that a Target-sponsored study of its price comparisons contained its own assortment of false claims. Target reported that Kmart's campaign quoted prices for some goods competing Target stores did not carry, adding that where there was competing product, Kmart not only got Target's prices wrong, it got some of its own prices wrong.

Not so, said Kmart, noting it had filed a legal brief of its own to counter Target's charges.

"It's unfortunate that Target chose to compete in the courts rather than in the stores," said Kmart senior vp/general counsel Janet Kelley.

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