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Posts tagged ‘Target Corporation’

CVS Caremark Plans to Stop Tobacco Product Sales.


CVS Caremark is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide as it focuses more on providing health care.

The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain said Wednesday that it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1, a move that will cost about $2 billion in annual revenue but won’t affect its 2014 earnings forecast. CVS Caremark leaders say removing tobacco will help them grow the company’s business of working with doctors, hospitals and other care providers to improve customers’ health.

CVS Caremark Corp. and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores for several years now. Their pharmacists deliver flu shots and other immunizations, and those clinics also have been expanding the care they deliver. They now help people manage chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes.

CEO Larry Merlo noted that conditions like those are made worse by smoking.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that cigarettes have no place in a setting where health care is being delivered,” he said.

The company declined to say what will take tobacco’s prominent shelf place behind cash registers at the front of its stores. CVS Caremark will test some items and may expand smoking cessation products that are already sold near cigarettes.

CVS Caremark has been working to team up with hospital groups and doctor practices to help deliver and monitor patient care, and the presence of tobacco in its stores has made for some awkward conversations, CVS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan said.

“One of the first questions they ask us is, ‘Well, if you’re going to be part of the health care system, how can you continue to sell tobacco products?'” he said. “There’s really no good answer to that at all.”

The company’s announcement drew praise from President Obama, who said in a statement that he applauded the news.

“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” the president said.

CVS Caremark competitor Walgreen Co., the nation’s largest drugstore chain, sells tobacco, as does the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which also operates pharmacies in its stores. But Target Corp., another major retailer with pharmacies in its stores, does not.

Most independent pharmacies also do not sell tobacco, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Several cities, including San Francisco and Boston, have considered or passed bans on tobacco sales in stores with pharmacies. Other places like New York City have sought to curb retail displays and promotions and raise the legal age someone can buy tobacco products.

On the flip side, discounters such as Family Dollar have started selling tobacco over the last couple years. They note that smokers make more frequent stops at retailers, and their customers are more likely to be tobacco users.

U.S. retail sales of tobacco, which is comprised largely of cigarettes, were about $107.7 billion in 2012, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. Less than 4 percent of retail cigarette sales come from drugstores like CVS and Walgreens.

The share of Americans who smoke has fallen dramatically since 1970, from nearly 40 percent to about 18 percent. But the rate has stalled since about 2004, with about 44 million adults in the U.S. smoking cigarettes. It’s unclear why it hasn’t budged, but some market watchers have cited tobacco company discount coupons on cigarettes and a lack of funding for programs to discourage smoking or to help smokers quit.

Tobacco companies also have increasingly relied on their packaging and displays at retailers to build brand loyalty and grab consumers because it is one of the few advertising levers left to them after the government curbed their presence in magazines, billboards and TV.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Report: Target Hackers Stole Encrypted Bank PINs.


Image: Report: Target Hackers Stole Encrypted Bank PINs

The hackers who attacked Target Corp. and compromised up to 40 million credit cards and debit cards also managed to steal encrypted personal identification numbers, says a senior payments executive familiar with the situation.One major U.S. bank fears the thieves will be able to crack the encryption code and make fraudulent withdrawals from consumer bank accounts, said the executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the data breach is still under investigation.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said “no unencrypted PIN data was accessed” and there was no evidence that PIN data had been “compromised.” She confirmed that some “encrypted data” was stolen but declined to say whether that included encrypted PINs.

“We continue to have no reason to believe that PIN data, whether encrypted or unencrypted, was compromised. And we have not been made aware of any such issue in communications with financial institutions to date,” Snyder said by email. “We are very early in an ongoing forensic and criminal investigation.”

The No. 3 U.S. retailer said last week that hackers stole data from as many as 40 million cards used at Target stores during the first three weeks of the holiday shopping season, making it the second-largest data breach in U.S. retail history.

Target has not said how its systems were compromised, though it described the operation as “sophisticated.” The Secret Service and the Justice Department are investigating. Officials with both agencies have declined comment on the investigations.

The attack could end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars, but it is unclear so far who will bear the expense.

While bank customers are typically not liable for losses because of fraudulent activity on their credit and debit cards, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Santander Bank said they have lowered limits on how much cash customers can take out of teller machines and spend at stores.

The unprecedented move has led to complaints from consumer advocates about the inconvenience it caused from the Thanksgiving holiday to the run-up to Christmas. But sorting out account activity after a fraudulent withdrawal could take a lot more time and be worse for customers.

JPMorgan has said it was able to reduce inconvenience by giving customers new debit cards printed quickly at many of its branches, and by keeping branches open for extended hours. A Santander spokeswoman was not available for comment on Tuesday.

Security experts said it is highly unusual for banks to reduce caps on withdrawals, and the move likely reflects worries that PINs have fallen into criminal hands, even if they are encrypted.

“That’s a really extreme measure to take,” said Avivah Litan, a Gartner analyst who specializes in cyber-security and fraud detection. “They definitely found something in the data that showed there was something happening with cash withdrawals.”

While the use of encryption codes may prevent amateur hackers from obtaining the digital keys to customer bank deposits, the concern is that the coding cannot stop the kind of sophisticated cyber-criminal who was able to infiltrate Target for three weeks.Daniel Clemens, CEO of Packet Ninjas, a cyber-security consulting firm, said banks were prudent to lower debit card limits because they will not know for sure whether Target’s PIN encryption was infallible until the investigation is completed.

As an example of potential vulnerabilities in PIN encryption, Clemens said he once worked for a retailer who hired his firm to hack into its network to find security vulnerabilities. He was able to access the closely guarded digital “key” used to unscramble encrypted PINs, which he said surprised his client, who thought the data was secure.

In other cases, hackers can get PINs by using a tool known as a “RAM scraper,” which captures the PINs while they are temporarily stored in memory, Clemens said.

The attack on Target began on Nov. 27, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday, and continued until Dec. 15. Banks that issue debit and credit cards learned about the breach on Dec. 18, and Target publicly disclosed the loss of personal account data on Dec. 19.

On Dec. 21, JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank, alerted 2 million of its debit cardholders that it was lowering the daily limits on ATM withdrawals to $100 and capping store purchases with their cards at $500.

On Monday, the bank partly eased the limits it had imposed on Saturday, setting them at $250 a day for ATM withdrawals and $1,000 a day for purchases. The usual debit card daily limits are $200 to $500 for cash withdrawals and $500 for purchases, a bank spokeswoman said last week.

On Monday, Santander — a unit of Spain’s Banco Santander — followed suit, lowering the daily limits on cash withdrawals and purchases on Santander and Sovereign branded debit and credit cards of customers who used them at Target when the breach occurred.

Santander did not disclose the new limits, but said it was monitoring the accounts and issuing new cards to customers who were affected.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Target Offers 10 Percent Off Following Security Breach.


Target is offering a store discount and free credit monitoring after what’s being called the second-largest credit card breach in U.S. history.

The Minneapolis-based discounter says it will offer 10 percent off for people who shop Saturday and Sunday.

Target says it’s heard of “very few” reports of fraud since thieves stole the credit and debit card information of about 40 million shoppers. But the chain is continuing to reach out to customers.

Some potential fraud victims say they’re having trouble getting in touch with Target through its website and call centers. CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized Friday and says the company is working hard to resolve the issues.

Target hasn’t disclosed exactly how the breach occurred but says it has fixed the problem.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Following_security_breach_Target_offers_10_percent_off.html#YgyDcZ2M4qrB6MbK.99

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Black Friday sales slip as shoppers opt for Thursday ‘doorbusters’.


Security guards break up a fight between shoppers outside a Bowling Green, Ky., Target, Nov. 22, 2012. (AP)

Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, saw more foot traffic than ever before, according to estimates. But it appears so-called “doorbuster” deals offered the day before dinged sales.

According to ShopperTrak, which tracks retail foot traffic, there were more than 307 million store visits on Friday, up 3.5 percent. But Black Friday shoppers spent an estimated $11.2 billion, down 1.8 percent over 2011, when consumers spent $11.4 billion.

And for once, the sluggish economy is not to blame.

“It is all Black Thursday’s fault,” ZeroHedge.com said.

[Slideshow: Black Friday madness]

Shopping malls were “less hectic” on Black Friday this year, Bloomberg.com reported, as retailers “have turned Black Friday, once a one-day event after Thanksgiving, into a week’s worth of deals and discounts.”

And Thursday’s deals “attracted some of the spending that’s usually meant for Friday,” ShopperTrak said.

Big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target were open on Thanksgiving night, drawing crowds that were–in some cases–rowdy. (Thankfully, it was nothing like the dystopian version of shopping hellrecently envisioned by “Saturday Night Live.”)

Another reason for the Black Friday dip: people skipped lines and shopped online. According to IBM Benchmark, online sales rose 17 percent on Thanksgiving and 21 percent on Black Friday.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By  | The Lookout

Prosecutor: Children left at day care were doomed.


RELATED CONTENT

HOUSTON (AP) — Prosecutors on Monday asked a jury to sentence a Texas woman convicted of murder after a fire at her home day care killed four children to life in prison, arguing she doomed the children she was responsible for when she left them alone to go shopping before the deadly blaze broke out.

Defense attorneys for Jessica Tata countered she was a good person who made a terrible mistake and asked jurors to not be swayed by anger.

The jury began deliberating Tata’s sentence after closing arguments in the punishment phase of her trial.

Tata could be sentenced from five years to life in prison. She was convicted last week of felony murder in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo.

Prosecutors said the February 2011 fire that killed Elias started after Tata, 24, left a group of children alone with a pan of oil cooking on a hot stove while she went shopping at a nearby Target store. Along with the four children who died, three were injured in the Houston home day care fire.

“That day when she made the decision to leave, she doomed them, she doomed them,” prosecutorConnie Spence told jurors, calling Tata’s actions “inexcusable.”

During her 40-minute closing argument, Spence talked about each child who died or was injured, showing jurors frozen video images of each one on TV screens in the courtroom.

“What each mom will do to hold their baby one more time,” Spence, her voice choked by emotion, told jurors as the mothers of the children sat in the courtroom and cried. “What’s a child’s life worth? … What we want is justice.”

Mike DeGeurin, Tata’s attorney, told jurors she never intended to hurt the children, who ranged in age from 16 months to 3 years old. He said Tata should not have left the children alone but that she went to the store for the children, to get them juice.

“She called them her babies. She didn’t want those babies to be harmed,” DeGeurin said.

DeGeurin said Tata also mourns for the children who died and asked jurors to not decide on an excessive sentence.

“Don’t let your emotions be whipped up. Don’t let your anger be whipped up,” he said.

Spence argued Tata was an irresponsible day care owner who had left the children she cared for alone on multiple occasions. The fire “wasn’t an aberration, it was an inevitability,” she said.

Tata fled to Nigeria after the fire but was captured after about a month, returned to the U.S. in March 2011 and has remained jailed since. She was born in the U.S. but has Nigerian citizenship.

Surveillance video shown during the trial showed her shopping at Target just before the fire. A former Target manager told jurors Tata did not seem to be in a hurry after realizing she had left the stovetop burner on.

Neighbors testified they heard the children crying as they tried to rescue them from the blaze. Parents of the children who died or were injured told jurors they had trusted Tata, believing she was qualified.

Defense attorneys presented expert testimony to argue that faulty kitchen equipment may have sparked the fire.

Tata still faces three more counts of felony murder in relation to the other children who died, and three counts of abandoning a child and two counts of reckless injury to a child in relation to the three who were hurt.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano at http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By JUAN A. LOZANO | Associated Press

Target Latest US Retailer To Promote Gay Marriage.


Love is love?

RELATED STORY: JC Penny Celebrates Mother’s Day With Ad Showing Lesbian Partners

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” I John 4

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Two years after Target Corp. angered gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office, the retailer is now upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.

One of the T-shirts that Target is selling to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota.

The Minneapolis-based retailer is taking heat in its home state, where voters will decide this November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution. One organizer of gay marriage opponents warned that their displeasure could spread to 32 other states where voters have banned gay marriage.

“Target is attacking traditional marriage, which is an incredibly misguided thing for them to have done,” said Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group campaigning to pass the constitutional marriage amendment. “It’s an insult to the overwhelming majority of their customers.”

Target’s move comes two years after it endured a backlash from gay rights supporters for giving $150,000 to a campaign group backing the conservative Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, Tom Emmer, who narrowly lost to Democrat Mark Dayton in a race that went to an automatic recount. The donation set off protests and calls for a boycott from a constituency that had seen Target as an ally.

Supporters of gay marriage see Minnesota as having the potential to halt their long losing streak in statewide votes.

The T-shirt promotion will raise up to $120,000 for the Family Equality Council, a Washington-based group that is part of a Minnesota coalition pushing to defeat the constitutional amendment. The $12.99 shirts will be sold on Target’s website through June, or while supplies last. They come in four designs, emblazoned with words such as “harmony” and “pride.” Singer Gwen Stefani designed one shirt featuring a rainbow and a cloud that says, “LOVE IS LOVE.”

Target hasn’t taken a position on Minnesota’s ballot question. Spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the T-shirt promotion was organized by a group of gay Target employees and their allies. She said it is Target’s second promotion to benefit a specific group. The first, during last year’s holiday season, raised money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the sale of limited-edition plush dogs.

“Target is pleased to be able to bring our guests products they want while, in turn, helping support the LGBT community through the donation of 100 percent of the purchase price to the Family Equality Council,” the company said in a statement noting its long-standing support of the gay community.

Another statement from the retailer notes “a broad range of strongly held views” on the marriage issue and urges employees to vote.

Family Equality Council director Jennifer Chrisler said the T-shirt proceeds will fund her group’s work around the country, ranging from community building to political advocacy. She added that Target, a longtime sponsor of the Twin Cities gay pride festival, is now sponsoring Family Equality Council retreats for gay families in Massachusetts and California.

“I know and understand what a big reaction that donation had two years ago, and I think they have taken steps, serious steps, to show that they understood that reaction,” Chrisler said. “But I really think this is an extension of the longtime partnership we have had and their commitment to family.”

Minnesota for Marriage doesn’t plan to organize action against Target because of its focus on the November vote, Darrell said. Instead, he is asking supporters of the constitutional amendment to counter the Target promotion by donating $12.99 on his group’s website. He said donations are up since Target started selling the T-shirts.

Darrell also urged Target to get out of the marriage issue — and stay out.

“Just get out of this debate and do what they’re good at,” Darrell said. “Get out of the business of trying to redefine marriage.” source – MSNBC.

by NTEB News Desk

Holiday Hiring Sees Largest Gains in Four Years.


 

Retailiers hiring more A Target store advertises for employment in Daly City, Calif. New data shows 423,500 employees were added to the holiday workforce in November, the largest gain since 2007. (APImages/Ben Margot)

There’s more good news for those seeking employment opportunities during the holidays.

November saw huge hiring gains in holiday retail, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

The data shows 423,500 employees were added to the holiday workforce, the largest November gain since 2007.

Last month’s hiring surge is up 27 percent from last year.

Experts predict hiring for the month of December will be about the same as last year.

But John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said stronger than expected sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday could boost December employment gains, resulting in even more hiring.

By CBNNews.com.

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