Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Ackman pledges to keep Target


DEALS/Lest anybody accuse Pershing Square Capital Management of running a proxy battle at Target Corp for a quick return, its head William Ackman pledged to keep his stake in the retailer for the greater of five years or the duration of his tenure on Target’s board, if he gets elected.

“As a commitment to Target shareholders and to reflect my confidence in the long-term value of the company, if I am elected to Target’s board of directors I pledge to keep that stake invested in Target,” Ackman said in a statement on Tuesday.

The outspoken hedge fund manager will square off against Target later this week at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Wisconsin. Pershing owns a 7.8 percent stake in Target and is seeking a board seat for himself and four other nominees.

Target is running a slate of four incumbent directors. The battle has grown increasingly contentious, with the two sides appearing unwilling to reach a compromise.  

Analyst puzzles over Sears’ higher EBITDA plans


sears.jpgSears Holdings Corp reported a quarterly loss this morning. But the thing that left analysts like Credit Suisse’s Gary Balter scratching their heads was the company’s expectations for higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the full year.

“We are struggling with what we are missing in the context of Q1 being down over $385 million in EBITDA and other comments in the release that talk about the expected difficult sales and gross margin environment,” Balter said in his research note.

Target CFO touts credit card deal as ‘Money for Nothing’


Late Monday, Target said it would sell a 47 percent interest in its credit card business to JPMorgan Chase for an initial investment of $3.6 billion.tgt.jpg

The news came almost 8 months after the discount retailer, under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman, said it was exploring options for its credit card business — a move it had long resisted.