Target Shareholders: Time for "Change"?


I am hoping Target (NYSE:TGT) shareholders are getting sick of the current strategy by management of sitting back and doing nothing, because those are the results operations are getting.

Here are the latest retail figures.

Here is my problem. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has gone back to its "low price" message with consumers and clearly it has worked. They cut back expansion plans and plowed that money into improving existing locations. Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) is currently in a big push for its appliance sales and internet and both are working. Target, has gone, well, fetal.

Now, the environment out there is clearly very tough, of that there is no doubt. But Target has gone from outperforming Wal-Mart to getting lapped by it. It is one thing to have sales sliding and to be taking steps to stop or reverse it and it is another entirely to do nothing about it.

Curling up in a ball and "waiting for economic conditions to improve" is not a strategy. We may not see actual economic growth until late 2010-2011. Are shareholders prepared to wait until then? Is the theory that people will just return to Target when things get better? Is it a case of current (and becoming entrenched) shopping patterns being reversed without any effort on managements's part?

Recessions are where the best management shows as they use it as an opportunity to expand market share and entrench their brand with the consumer. Now, Target COULD do those things if they freed up some more cash. IF they choose to put even some of Bill Ackman's idea to work, that cash would be there.

If I had wrote here last year that at this time this year there would be more positive news coming out of Sears than Target people would have said I was insane, yet that is precisely what is happening now.

Target shareholders are lucky in that they have a real viable option to them other than selling shares. They can elect Ackman's slate of nominees to the Board and start to see some changes at Target, or, they can do what management is and do nothing....and get nothing..

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