Target shareholders urge eco progress

Cleveland – With 2006 full year sales having increased 13% over 2005 to $5.9 billion, and earnings having leapt 18.5% to $3.21 per share, Target chairman and ceo Bob Ulrich easily laid claim to “progress” at today’s annual shareholder meeting, held here in an empty new Target slated for a July 29 opening.

Fewer than 40 shareholders attended, but five of those rose to separately question, on behalf of a range of institutional shareholder groups, Target’s use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic in products and packaging.

The 1,500-store mass merchant reiterated its intention to assess and pursue alternatives to the pervasive pollutant. In a prepared statement, Target pointed to measures underway or under consideration such as “offering shower curtains made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), as well as cloth curtains as alternatives,” “migrating from plastic to corrugated packaging for some of the Target brand dinner ware,” and “requesting that our vendors reduce the amount of packaging on our products and use material that is easily recyclable.”

On merchandising topics, Ulrich offered no specifics on home except to say that the retailer will introduce new designer programs in home décor.

While known for its heavy reliance on direct sourcing, Gregg Steinhafel, president, told HTT that Target does seek out domestic resources for home textiles who excel on timely deliveries and superior design capability. On the issue of brands, he said the chain will continue to strike a balance between such long-term commitments as those it has with Waverly and Woolrich on the one hand and the “take a chance” relationships it has with such labels as Simply Shabby Chic and Victoria Hagen.

Doug Scovanner, evp and cfo, told HTT the company is very pleased with the performance of the Target credit-card programs. He noted that the associated loyalty reward redemption programs bring in shoppers on a once-monthly basis who then spend an average of $160 on that store visit.

Target is on track to open 120 net new stores in 2007 and to operate 2,000 by 2011.

Home & Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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