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Walgreens declares regular quarterly dividend of 31.5 cents per share, a 14.5% increase

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The board of directors of Walgreens on Thursday declared a regular quarterly dividend of 31.5 cents per share, a 14.5% increase over the year-ago dividend. 

The dividend is payable March 12, 2014, to shareholders of record on Feb. 18, 2014.

Walgreens has paid a dividend in 325 straight quarters (more than 81 years) and has raised its dividend for 38 consecutive years. Over the last five years, Walgreens annual dividend rate has increased from 45 cents per share to $1.26 per share, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of nearly 23%.

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Target lowers Q4 guidance as it uncovers additional data stolen during breach

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Customers’ mailing addresses, names, phone numbers and email addresses were among the data stolen as part of a massive breach of payment card data at Target, the mass merchandise retailer said Friday.

Target said the information stolen, affecting as many as 70 million people, was not a new breach, but was uncovered as part of the investigation of the original breach, which took place between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 and resulted in the theft of payment card data from about 40 million customers.

The retailer said much of the data stolen is incomplete, but it will seek to contact customers whose email addresses were stolen with information on avoiding scams.

The breach has also forced the chain to lower its U.S. segment guidance for fourth quarter 2013, from $1.50-$1.60 per share to $1.20-$1.30, due to a 2.5% decline in comps. That decline resulted from stronger-than-expected fourth quarter sales before the Dec. 19 announcement of the breach and weaker-than-expected sales since then, and the company expects a 2-6% decline in comps for the remainder of the quarter despite an improvement in recent days. The company also anticipates charges related to the breach, such as card resistance costs, investigative and consulting fees, payments to card networks and others.

"In light of the recent data breach, our top priority is taking care of our guests and helping them feel confident in shopping at Target," EVP and CFO John Mulligan said. "At the same time, we remain keenly focused on driving profitable top-line growth and investing our resources to deliver superior financial results over time."

 

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New PLMALive video report analyzes sustainability

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — How retailers are investing in and addressing sustainability and how manufacturers are adjusting is the focus of a new video report on PLMALive.

Looking to address sustainability, retailers have generally been developing programs aimed at four different categories: products and supply chains, recycle and waste management, energy improvement, and design and construction.
    
Manufacturers are noticing these investments too and are taking action on their own part. Graham Mitchell, president and CEO of Sustainable Innovations, analyzes these actions and says there is a huge opportunity for private label in bringing innovative sustainability ideas to retailers, developing and branding them.
 
But, the bottom line may ultimately come from the consumers. Jon Berry, VP of consumer trends with GFK Roper, believes that surveys conducted over recent years indicate that consumers are increasingly showing a lack of knowledge about sustainability and environmentally-friendly products.
 
Berry states that the baby boomer demographic is generally skeptical of environmentally-friendly “green” products, while the younger millennials, are more conscious of this issue and, as they become parents, will likely pass this onto their own children. As a result, Berry doesn’t see sustainability becoming an important issue in the minds of consumers within the next decade, but ultimately 30 to 40 years down the line.

 

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