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$10 billion share repurchase program completed by Target

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Target has completed its $10 billion share repurchase program.

The program, which was authorized by the retailer’s board of directors in November 2007, represents the repurchase of 193.5 million shares, or nearly 23% of its outstanding shares from that time period, at an average price of $51.68 per share.

Target will continue to repurchase shares under the $5 billion program approved by its board of directors in January, which it expects to complete in the next two to three years.

"Target’s completion of the 2007 share repurchase program demonstrates our long-standing commitment to return cash to shareholders through both dividends and share repurchase," said John Mulligan, incoming EVP and chief financial officer of Target. "Through disciplined financial management, Target continues to generate far more cash than we need to fund appropriate reinvestment in our core businesses. As a result, we intend to continue to invest in the repurchase of shares under our January 2012 authorization."

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Safeway’s board OKs quarterly dividend, increase for stock repurchase authorization

BY Allison Cerra

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway announced that its board of directors Friday declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 14.5 cents per share.

The dividend will be payable on April 12 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 22, the company noted.

In related financial news, the retailer’s board also increased the authorized level of the company’s stock repurchase program by $1 billion. The stock repurchase program, which may be accelerated, suspended, delayed or discontinued at any time, had about $400 million remaining through Feb. 22, Safeway said.

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Nielsen: During holiday season, retail apps, websites reached nearly two-thirds of consumers

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — During the 2011 holiday season, the top retail applications and websites combined — including Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart — reached nearly 60% of smartphone owners, according to Nielsen.

“The majority of smartphone owners used their devices for shopping this past holiday season,” said John Burbank, president of strategic initiatives at Nielsen. “Mobile shopping has reached scale and is only going to grow as smartphone penetration continues to rise.”

Nielsen’s metering of the smartphones of 5,000 U.S. volunteers participating in Nielsen’s mobile research also revealed the following:

  • Smartphone owners of both genders prefer retailers’ mobile websites over mobile apps, with men slightly more likely to try retailers’ mobile apps than women. However, consumers who use retailers’ mobile apps tend to spend more time on them.

  • Target and Walmart skewed female when it comes to their mobile websites, while Best Buy skewed male. Amazon and eBay appealed to both genders.

  • All of the top five mobile retail websites experienced a “bump” during the days leading up to and following Black Friday, led by Amazon. This seasonal lift, however, did not translate into an increase in regular usage. By January, active reach was back to October 2011 levels.

“Retailers need to think of their business as a multichannel environment that can potentially include mobile, online, and brick-and-mortar stores,” Burbank said. “Winning with shoppers requires a consistent experience across channels that reinforces the values you represent as a retail brand, whether it be price, service, reviews, selection, style, or other key attributes.”

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