Target Corp. has carefully tended its image for corporate benevolence while competitor Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been cast as penurious, a behemoth and mom-and-pop shop killer.
Now Target is under scrutiny for its decision, which came to light in July 2010, to use shareholder money for a $150,000 donation to Minnesota Forward, a political group supporting the election of gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposes same-sex marriage rights.
Four Target shareholder groups — Common Cause; Bill de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate and Trustee of the New York City Employees Retirement System, a $40 billion pension fund; United Steel Workers, and the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh — on Tuesday held a telephone press conference criticizing Target’s policies on political contributions. The groups said they would gather today outside Target’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pittsburgh to urge the company to end the practice. Affiliated institutional investors who own stock in Target will attend the meeting and question executives about political spending. The action is intended to urge corporations not to spend treasury money on politics in the 2012 election cycle.
“We are aware of the press conference and potential protests” at the annual meeting, a Target spokeswoman said.
Target in 2011 was ranked 22nd on Fortune’s list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” and 44th on Diversity Inc.’s list of “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.” “We have always appreciated the way Target has always acted in support of our communities,” said Thomas Waters, Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, which supports the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. “When a store we count on and a corporation whose brand has set itself up as a progressive leader that respects all of its customers acts in this way, it disempowers us even more.”
New York City pension fund holds about one million Target shares. De Blasio said the retailer’s stock suffered as a result of the Minnesota Forward contribution. “In the week after the news broke, Target stock plunged 3.5 percent,” he said. “Over the same six trading days when that occurred, the stock price of rivals such as Wal-Mart, rose. Clearly, this was a response to Target’s misstep. We saw our investment decline.”
“It’s clear [the political donation] violated Target’s own code of conduct and created a huge reputational risk,” said Michael Dean of Common Cause Minnesota. “It could work against the goodwill Target has built up in our community.” Dean said Lady Gaga in March cut ties with Target, killing an exclusive deal for a special edition of her upcoming album. The reason was said to be her disapproval of Target’s political policies.
Target said following the 2010 election, it conducted a thorough evaluation of its processes and established a policy committee to review and provide greater oversight to future corporate political giving. “Moving forward, we will evaluate our giving based on business, team member and stakeholder objectives,” a spokeswoman said. “Engaging in civic activities is an important part of operating a national retail business. We operate best when working with policy makers on both sides of the aisle.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)