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Target meets shareholders out west

Las Vegas – Three soft home initiatives were featured in the presentation as Target’s newly elevated ceo Gregg Steinhafel steered his first annual shareholder meeting here today; initiatives included the chain’s first certified organic cotton bedding program and design exclusives from Sami Hayek and DwellStudio.

HTT examined each of these in local Las Vegas stores. The certified organic line, offered under the Home label, is a 250-count sheet set made with eco-friendly dyes, packaged in its own drawstring fabric bag, priced at $49.99 queen – the same price as a 250-count non-organic cotton/modal blend nearby.

The Sami Hayek program, seen in a stepped endcap display, also presented reusable fabric packaging, some as tote bags, others zippered. Dec pillows, comforter and coverlet sets filled out the 220-count sheet set line.

DwellStudio for Target was another all-cotton program, with $49 queen sheet sets augmented by two styles of comforter sets, $89 queen; three looks in duvet sets, $79 queen; and three dec pillows at $24.99.

DwellStudio also scored its own all-cotton kitchen and table linen endcap, with four patterns of reversible placemats and coordinating napkins, plus two patterns each of table runners, oblong table cloths, and potholders/over mitts.

Steinhafel told HTT that Target is pleased with the chain’s current performance. Even though consumers are “cherry-picking sale items” in domestics, they are still buying high-end products. He added Target is “very comfortable” with inventory levels.

Doug Scovanner, cfo, acknowledged Target is carrying a high-than-ever debt load, but noted to HTT that both its long-term notes and short-term commercial paper have achieved the highest ratings.

During the Q&A portion of the proceedings, annual meeting fixture and individual shareholder Aaron Epstein handed out his own home-baked cookies, with Steinhafel graciously accepting what he called “good cookie karma.”

Only two other shareholders spoke – one on a PETA issue regarding pest-control products, another on HDTV item pricing.

Chairman Bob Ulrich briefly opened the meeting by declaring Steinhafel “a Target veteran of nearly 30 years, ideally prepared and primed to take the company forward.”

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