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Who's zoomin' who? Kmart, Target claim equal victory in price comparison squabble

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

Today both parties claimed victory, as Target withdrew a motion seeking a temporary restraining order against Kmart. Last week, the Minneapolis-based Target discount chain filed suit against the nation's second largest discounter, charging it with using false prices in its "Dare To Compare" campaign.

Kmart has since pulled the advertising, simultaneously launching a national advertising campaign this week to promote the BlueLight Always program under which it has 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 vg/general counsel James Hale. His remarks were carried in a press release sent across the wires earlier today under the headline: "Target Forces Kmart To Surrender National Ad Campaign."

Kmart quickly fired back with a press release of its own: "Kmart's BlueLight Always Launch Forces Target to Withdraw Its Claims." Kmart contends that a Target-sponsored study of its price comparisons contained an assortment of false claims. Target had reported that Kmart's "Dare To Compare" 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 also got some of its own prices wrong.

Not so, said Kmart today, noting it had filed a legal brief 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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