Gregg W. Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Target Corp., had a rough ride Wednesday at the retailer’s annual general meeting in Pittsburgh.
While the retailer’s numbers continue to be strong and Steinhafel revealed that plans to open stores in Canada were ahead of schedule and profits for the Canadian units would be higher than expected, shareholders were more focused on the company’s $150,000 donation last year using shareholder money to Minnesota Forward, a political group supporting the election of gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposes same-sex-marriage rights. Even Target’s largest single charitable commitment in its history — $1 billion for education by the end of 2015 — seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Steinhafel found himself fielding question after question about the political donation, sounding embattled and annoyed.
“Following last fall’s election cycles, we created a policy committee to ensure Target considers a broad range of [perspectives] before engaging in political activity,” the chairman explained.
“Fill us in on the thinking of why Emmer’s positions weren’t thoroughly researched,” said a shareholder. “I don’t understand how you could have such an enormous blind spot.”
“Out of respect for the balance of the shareholders, I think we’ve sufficiently addressed that topic,” Steinhafel said. “We listened, we evolved, we have the right processes. Does anybody have a question related to our business that’s not related to political giving? I’d love to hear a question related to something else.”
Target is coming under more scrutiny these days. For years, the company enjoyed relatively little attention on the labor front, while competitor Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was the target of unions, activists and politicians. On June 17, some 250 employees at the Target in Valley Stream, N.Y., will vote to unionize. It the effort passes, it will be a step toward unionizing about 5,000 Target employees in New York City.
Steinhafel did talk business, though. Several proprietary brands have been reinvented, including Room Essentials in home and Circle in children’s and the redesigned home, beauty, shoe, electronics and video game departments have been well-received by consumers, Steinhafel said.
City Target, a small urban format, will open stores next year in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. The annual meeting was held in a two-level City Target set to open in July in East Liberty—– the first Target unit within Pittsburgh city limits.
Target plans to exceed the $100 billion sales mark in the next six years, a figure Steinhafel has mentioned before. The board approved a 30 cent quarterly dividend, payable Sept. 10.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews