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Giant Eagle opens fifth Market District store

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Giant Eagle on Thursday unveiled its fifth Market District location in five years — and its first in Pittsburgh’s North Hills suburbs.

The newly expanded 90,000-sq.-ft. location is celebrating a grand opening with in-store demonstration and autograph signing appearances by food celebrities, including Bravo Network "Top Chef" competitor Mike Isabella, Food Network "Ask Aida" host Aida Mollenkamp and Master Chef Martin Yan. Additionally, TLC Network’s “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro will be on hand to unveil a larger-than-life cake he and his team created.

“The opening of the new Market District in the Township of Pine is a milestone for our company," stated spokesman Rob Borella. “When customers visit this new store, they will enjoy a world-class shopping and dining experience all in one place, bursting with amazing food from 19 countries around the world, combined with food expertise with everything from daily demonstrations to celebrity chef appearances and interactive events.”

The Market District format was first introduced in the Pittsburgh market in 2006. Giant Eagle has since taken the banner to Columbus, Ohio.

For a video tour of the store, shot by Giant Eagle, click here.

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Walgreens announces consecutive quarterly dividend No. 318

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday declared a regular quarterly dividend of 22.5 cents per share, a 28.6% increase over the year-ago dividend. The dividend is payable March 12, 2012, to shareholders of record Feb. 17, 2012.

Walgreens has paid a dividend in 317 straight quarters (more than 79 years) and has raised its dividend for 36 consecutive years. Over the last five years, Walgreens’ annual dividend rate has increased from 31 cents per share to 90 cents per share, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 23.8%.

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Target OKs $5 billion share repurchase authorization

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Target’s board of directors has approved a new $5 billion share repurchase program, which will be implemented upon the completion of the company’s current $10 billion program.

Target said while it expects to complete its current program early this year, it expects to complete the new $5 billion authorization in the next two to three years, saying the program "represents an opportunity to apply excess cash flow to what [the company believes] will be an attractive long-term investment."

“Our plans envision continued generation of much more cash than we believe is appropriate to invest in our core businesses,” Target EVP and CFO Doug Scovanner said. “We’re committed to maintaining Target’s long history of returning cash to shareholders through both dividends and share repurchase, and this new authorization will allow for seamless execution of share repurchase beyond completion of the current program.”

In related news, the board also declared a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per common share — its 178th consecutive dividend paid since October 1967 — which is payable March 10 to shareholders of record at the close of business Feb. 15.

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