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Target sees decline in Q4 sales

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS — Target announced on Wednesday a decline in fourth-quarter sales and earnings; however, executives expressed optimism as they plan for the new fiscal year and work to restore consumer confidence following the data breach.

“For more than 50 years Target has succeeded by focusing on our guests,” stated Greg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target. “During the first half of the fourth quarter, our guest-focused holiday merchandising and marketing plans drove better-than-expected sales. However, results softened meaningfully following our December announcement of a data breach. As we plan for the new fiscal year, we will continue to work tirelessly to win back the confidence of our guests and deliver irresistible merchandise and offers, and we are encouraged that sales trends have improved in recent weeks.”

During the fourth quarter, total sales dropped 3.8% to $21.5 billion. Net earnings for the quarter totaled $520 million, or 81 cents per share, compared with $961 million, or $1.47 per share, in the year-ago period.

In its U.S. segment, fourth quarter sales decreased 6.6% to $20.9 billion, reflecting the impact of an additional accounting week in 2012 and a 2.5% decrease in same-store sales. Full year 2013 sales in the U.S. segment decreased 0.9% to $71.3 billion, reflecting the impact of an additional accounting week in 2012 and a 0.4% decrease in same-store sales.

For full-year 2013, total sales rose 0.9% to $72.6 billion. Net earnings dropped 34.3% to $1.97 billion.

As previously reported, Target experienced during the fourth quarter a data breach in which an intruder gained unauthorized access to its network and stole certain payment card and other guest information. The company incurred $17 million of net expense in the fourth quarter, reflecting $61 million of total expenses partially offset by the recognition of a $44 million insurance receivable. These expenses include, but aren’t limited to, costs related to investigating the breach, offering credit-monitoring and identity theft protection services to guests and increased staffing in its call centers.

Looking to fiscal 2014, the company noted that it is not able to estimate future expense related to the data breach.

 

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Study: Variations in disease states and health behaviors among Hispanic groups

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, the landmark research study of Hispanic/Latino health funded by the National Institutes of Health, on Tuesday released initial findings that showed significant variations in disease prevalence and health behaviors among groups with different backgrounds. 

The findings reported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the NIH, are the result of the national study that began in 2008. The data is based on interviews conducted with 16,415 study participants at one of four U.S. field centers ─ located in the Bronx, San Diego, Chicago and Miami. 

“While many trends are consistent across all four field sites, there are clear differences between participants in each city — and more importantly, between each Hispanic group,” said Robert Kaplan, professor of epidemiology & population health and principal investigator for HCHS/SOL at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, which established and operates the Bronx field center. 

Among the highlights in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Data Book: A Report to the Communities:

  • The percentage of people who report having asthma ranged from 7.4% (Mexican) to 35.8% (Puerto Rican);
  • The percentage of individuals who had pre-diabetes ranged from 32.1% (Dominican) to 37.7% (Mexican);
  • The percent of people eating five or more fruits/vegetables a day ranged from 19.2% (Puerto Rican) to 55% (Cuban); and
  • Average minutes of daily recreational activity ranged from 17.7% (Cuban) to 28.3% (Puerto Rican). 

“Teasing out these variations can help clinicians, public health advocates and members of the community focus their energies in the right places,” explained Kaplan. “Ultimately, we hope to uncover the key factors that can lead to improved health for all Hispanics.”

The study investigators and NIH are partnering with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and other national and local organizations to increase the reach of the study. On Tuesday the Alliance released a booklet showing the data reported by all four field centers. The 40-page bilingual report is titled "About Our Health: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos." 

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Hy-Vee to enter Twin Cities market

BY Antoinette Alexander

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Grocer Hy-Vee, which operates 235 stores in eight states, is planning a major expansion of its Minnesota operations into the Twin Cities market.

The proposed expansion would add several new stores to the Twin Cities market per year, over the next several years. Each store opened will be approximately 90,000-square foot, with an investment of approximately $14 million to $16 million, creating anywhere from 400 to 550 new jobs.

The company has one location under contract in the Twin Cities area, with several more projects in various stages of research and development.

Hy-Vee has been a fixture in Minnesota communities since 1969 and currently has 17 employee-owned stores statewide with approximately 5,100 employees.

“Our commitment to excellent customer service, health and wellness, and culinary expertise is unlike anything in the market to date,” stated Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee. “Minnesota and its residents have long been important partners, and we are proud to extend that partnership into the Twin Cities area.”

Hy-Vee is an employee-owned corporation that recorded sales of $8 billion for 2013.

 

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