Target focuses more on ‘pay less’ message; also: different takes on UnitedHealth’s health, and Hormel breaks ground on production plant in Iowa

As shoppers cut back on their spending, Target is shifting its marketing focus to the latter half of its “Expect More, Pay Less” tagline, a Reuters analysis concludes. The Minneapolis retailer is using coupon books for household items and commercials that emphasize low prices to try and lure consumers who’d otherwise stay at home or shop elsewhere. One retail analyst said Target’s prices frequently match Wal-Mart but that message hasn’t reached shoppers.

The Motley Fool says UnitedHealth is looking healthier. The Minnetonka-based HMO has been battered by rising health costs and dragged down by lawsuit expenses. Its second-quarter profits fell 25 percent from a year ago, but that was slightly better than Wall Street expected. The company’s stock is up 16 percent since then. The Fool says as UnitedHealth cuts costs, investors shouldn’t be surprised if it beats its own lowered profit expectations.

Another take on UnitedHealth: Fund manager and financial blogger Eddy Elfenbein at Seeking Alpha writes that the stock climb might signal investors are down on management. UnitedHealth’s second-quarter profits barely beat expectations. The company predicted 64 to 66 cents profit per share and finished the second quarter with 67 cents profit per share. “If you can rally this well by beating the top end by a penny, I think it means that investors have lost confidence in management.”

Hormel Foods is struggling to keep pace with “explosive growth” in sales of its Compleats microwave meals, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports. The Austin-based company breaks ground today on a new $89 million production facility in Dubuque, Iowa, which it hopes will be cranking out more microwave meals by November 2009. The company said in a press release that it plans to employ about 180 workers at the plant.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply