Survey finds 22% fewer households shopped at Target

It’ll take a Herculean effort by the PR department to make a silk purse out of this … The Washington Post story, by Amrita Jayakumar, says: “It should come as no surprise that Target’s sales were hit by the December data breach that affected millions. But the number of people visiting its stores and Web site fell to the lowest level in three years, according to a recent report. Only 33 percent of U.S. households shopped at Target in January, a decrease of 22 percent from the same time last year, according to a survey by Kantar Retail, a consulting group. The shoppers who stayed away the most included Gen Xers — its core demographic — and lower-income, infrequent shoppers.”

Shelby Livingston of The Medill Reports says:Target’s current ‘buzz score,’ a measurement of brand popularity, was seven on Feb. 27, up from its lowest point of -35 on Jan. 19, according to YouGov, a market research company that measures public perception of individual brands. The buzz score is based on a scale of -100 to 100 and is determined through daily polling of individuals. Ted Marzilli, CEO of BrandIndex at YouGov, expects Target to bounce back fully within three to four months based on the statistics. Target plans to win over customers by offering ‘irresistible’ merchandise and promotions, said Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan.” I’m thinking … bacon-pepperoni pizzas for $1 apiece.

Oh, and speaking of our friendly local discounter … It apologized for that rather extreme “thigh gap” photoshop job on a swimsuit model. At ABC News, they say: “The model in the ad has a thigh gap, the gaping space between her legs and a worrying body trend among teenage girls. But the gap actually extends into her pelvis (and the bathing suit the ad aims to sell) in an apparent slip of the Photoshop eraser. ‘It was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize,’ Target spokesman Evan Miller told ABCNews.com. ‘We removed the image from the site and we’re working to get a new image up there.’ ” But nothing larger than a size 2!

Along with all its other work, the Legislature has found time to consider what else we can do for pro sports. The AP says: “Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders also met privately Wednesday to talk about tax changes that could be needed to land the Super Bowl. And a state representative has proposed a bill benefiting a professional golf foundation to coincide with the 2016 Ryder Cup to be held in Minnesota.”

In the PiPress, Doug Belden writes: “Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, has introduced a bill that would prevent adoption of tax exemptions for the Super Bowl: ‘The legislature finds that the provision of substantial state-funded, public financing for the professional football stadium constitutes the maximum amount of state assistance that it is appropriate for state taxpayers to provide to host a Super Bowl,’ says the bill, which does not have a Senate companion.” What’s that line about a stopped clock?

That push for a substantial increase in broadband coverage out-state is apparently not a priority with the governor. Tim Pugmire at MPR says: “Despite a $1.2 billion budget surplus and a funding request from his own task force, Dayton released a revised budget last week that had no money for broadband expansion. On the campaign trail four years ago, Dayton learned firsthand about the inconsistent cell phone and Internet service in some parts of Minnesota. He pledged to have a border-to-border solution by the end of his first term, but that timetable now appears unrealistic. Dayton said he left broadband funding out of his supplemental budget because the plan for a $100 million grant program lacked details about specific projects.”

Meanwhile, a Strib commentary by one Charlie Schmidt of Sherburne County says of the broadband efforts: “[I]nstead of scoffing at yet another good or service being thought of by politicians as a “right,” I figured I would give it a read. Despite the much-publicized debacle that is forced, taxpayer-funded health care, two former pols from Minnesota already have moved on to the next misguided public good.” You only need dial-up to get NewsMax.

Yeah! “Deeper shallow.” That’s the ticket. Laura Yuen of MPR reports: “Another tunnel is on the table for the beleaguered Southwest light-rail project. … At an advisory board meeting Wednesday, elected officials from the Twin Cities learned of a new design that blends elements of both tunnels: ‘I call it the deeper shallow tunnel,’ said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the idea. … The latest plans would keep the trains beneath the Kenilworth channel, rather than sending them above ground over a bridge.”

In the Strib, Pat Doyle says:The latest option on the table would add as much as $85 million to the cost of the project, potentially bringing it to over $1.6 billion. … The latest Met Council version would cost less because it would be built by walling off the creek rather than burrowing beneath it and wouldn’t be as deep. But it has drawbacks beyond being more expensive than running the light rail over the channel. It would add another year to construction of the project, likely delaying the opening of the Southwest line until 2019.”

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/13/2014 - 09:03 am.

    It’s time for the NFL hogs to get out of the public’s pockets!

    It is time to get the NFL hogs to get out of the public pockets. The NFL is a group of very private companies and they should be required to manage their businesses just like any other businesses and live within its means. If they can’t do that it is time for them to fold. Their out of bounds salary structure and unmitigated greed cause them to needlessly be looking for public assistance. They got the stadium they just had to have for a very mediocre team They have put ticket prices out of bounds for many, even longtime Viking season ticket holders. It is time for them to open up a new set of pockets, their own!

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/13/2014 - 08:42 am.

    Re: Broadband service

    Infrastructure for broadband service should be provided by the companies who will sell and profit from those connections. It’s not the role of government to provide that infrastructure any more than it’s the role of government to string phone lines.

  3. Submitted by mike simpkins on 03/13/2014 - 09:27 am.

    Governments Role in Infrastructure

    So Dennis where would as a country if it wasn’t for the TVA and the electrification of rural America? Broadband for commerce and communication is an essential element of our country’s infrastructure.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/13/2014 - 10:27 am.

    On the contrary…

    Since Roman times infrastructure is more efficiently and economically built and provided by government. The problem is we failed to classify high speed internet as public infrastructure in the first place. This is why we pay more of slower and less efficient speeds and have far less availability than many other countries. Free markets… don’t believe the hype.

  5. Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/13/2014 - 11:22 am.

    Re: Broadband Service

    I think broadband service should be a public utility, like water, sewer, gas, electricity, etc. I consider it to be a public infrastructure that we all benefit from.

  6. Submitted by Chris Williams on 03/13/2014 - 11:30 am.

    Re: Broadband Service

    Dennis,

    I would be fine with your stance – if the broadband providers weren’t collecting “access fees” and taxes specifically designed to expand the network. The the “Universal Service Tax” pulls in close to $8 billion a year that gets handed over to providers for the purposes of network expansion. AT&T alone got a $1.3 billion slice of that pie last year. As long as taxpayers are subsidizing them, I would expect them to use the money as it’s intended. If they were willing to give up their corporate welfare, then I could be on board with your comment.

    These corporate behemoths also try to have it both ways. They won’t run high speed service out to rural areas, but when a municipality tries to start-up municipal broadband the broadband providers move heaven and earth to lobby for bills preventing government from competing with the private sector – even in markets they have no intention of serving.

  7. Submitted by jason myron on 03/13/2014 - 11:54 am.

    Actually

    it’s the exact opposite. This country is woefully behind in nearly every aspect of infrastructure improvement. Other countries continue to clean our clock while dinosaurs are quite content to pine away for the good old days. Increasing connectivity and bandwidth in rural areas creates opportunity, increases demand and aids job growth. If these small towns are looking to stay relevant, grow and keep young people, they need to adapt.

  8. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/13/2014 - 01:50 pm.

    How Soon We Forget (Or How Stubbornly We Remain Ignorant)

    Vast swaths of rural Minnesota only got electrical and telephone service because of co-operative enterprises set up by local citizens and funded by special low-interest loans from the federal government.

    In fact, in Pope County, where I used to live, the areas of the county covered by one of those old Rural Telephone Co-operatives got local dialup internet service followed soon after by broadband service several years before the “private company” which some of us falsely see as the panacea for all problems ever considered upgrading their existing equipment to provide such service.

    We’ve long since reached the point where broadband internet access is a necessary utility for most business concerns and individuals (if they’re operating in the 21st Century, anyway) and thus needs to be approached as a “utility” in the same way electricity, natural gas, and phone service were always considered utilities.

    Private enterprise will not provide such utilities because, although there’s money to be made doing it, the profit margins are not what such enterprises have come to require these days. Those running such enterprises might never make it into the 1%, so they won’t bother even to start them.

  9. Submitted by James Delaney on 03/13/2014 - 02:16 pm.

    Broadband

    The broadband service companies are fat and happy and profitable. They have no incentive to provide superior service. The Govt needs to get involved so that our broadband service is a s good as Japan and South Korea. Right now we have one of the worst (slowest) service of the top 16 industrialized nations,

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