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So many Targets to choose from; an executive’s firing gets buried

Thursday was a busy day for reporters on the Target Corp. beat. The company announced what the Star Tribune termed on its front-page a “bold” push into Canada — its first-ever foreign expansion.

Thursday was a busy day for reporters on the Target Corp. beat. The company announced what the Star Tribune termed on its front-page a “bold” push into Canada — its first-ever foreign expansion. Word also broke that Target again wants to sell $6.7 billion in credit card receivables.

And oh yeah, the company disclosed it had fired the senior executive in charge of its stores.

All three stories are unquestionably news, but only the first two got any real traction.

For example, the Strib’s Jackie Crosby — who had to be panting a bit yesterday — made the front page with the Canada story, and the business front with the credit card story. But when Big Red “terminated” executive vice president/stores Troy Risch, that rated small type in the business section’s “company roundup.”

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Similarly, the Pioneer Press splashed the Canada news on its business front, using a New York Times story; the Times didn’t mention credit cards or Risch.

The Risch news appears to have come from a Thursday Securities and Exchange Commission filing that noted the ex-exec would got Target’s “standard officer severance agreement” plus a million bucks if he doesn’t jump to a competitor.

However, Target spokeswoman Amy Riley says the company issued a statement that Risch’s successor, Tina Schiel, had been promoted via P.R. Newswire on Tuesday. While the information didn’t appear on Target’s media site until Thursday, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal did have a Tuesday story that — like the company’s release — didn’t mention Risch’s firing.

Not unexpectedly, Riley won’t say why Risch was terminated. That won’t stop speculation that Risch’s firing was related to Target’s December revenues, which “fell well short” of expectations. (Crosby’s reporting on the numbers is included here.)

I can’t fault the Strib for emphasizing the Canada news (which could create jobs at the headquarters here) or the credit card story, which could be a big deal to the company’s financial health. Target’s disappointing sales had already made the papers, but hopefully we’ll get more on the Risch backstory once the dust settles.