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Target Aims at Kitchenware Market

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In order to tap the rapidly expanding cooking and kitchenware market and with a view to draw more traffic by enhancing its portfolio of offerings, Target Corporation (TGT) entered into 2 separate transactions to acquire CHEFS Catalog and assets of Cooking.com. The financial terms of the deals, which are expected to conclude within 30 days, were not revealed.

Target hinted that both the businesses will be merged to form a new, wholly owned subsidiary. However, it clearly stated that the brands will retain their existing names. The transactions, which are strategically important in the long run, amid a sluggish, competitive economic environment, are not expected to have a favorable impact on the company’s fiscal 2013 results.

The President and Chief Executive of CHEFS, Tim Littleton, will spearhead the wholly owned subsidiary and directly report to Mr. Carl. On the other hand, Chief Executive and co-founder of Cooking.com, Tracy Randall, will take over an advisory role for Target.

Founded in 1979 and based in Colorado Springs, Colo., CHEFS Catalog through its website www.chefscatalog.com offers consumers kitchen related products, including cookware, bake ware, cutlery, kitchen tools and cooking utensils, under leading brands, such as All-Clad, Cuisinart, Le Creuset, KitchenAid, Scanpan, Wusthof and others.

Cooking.com, an e-Commerce company, provides consumers over 30,000 kitchen related products, and recipes and cookbooks. Founded in 1998 and based in Marina Del Rey, Calif., Cooking.com runs branded online stores, which include the Food Network Store, Calphalon Store, and Rachael Ray Store.

Yesterday, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock announced the completion of the sale of its credit card portfolio to TD Bank Group at the gross value of $5.7 billion.

We believe that the transaction will augur well for Target as the segment has long been grappling with declining revenues. Sustaining the business might prove detrimental for the company’s financials as the requirement for bad debt provisions would be higher, which implies reduced growth capital for future expansions.

Going forward, Target intends to focus on its core businesses. The company plans to sustain its remodeling program at existing general merchandise locations by the addition of an expanded food section along with a greater assortment of dry dairy and frozen items, improved store layout and enhancement of in-store shopping experience across departments, such as apparel, home, beauty, shoes and baby.

Alongside, Target is seeking promising expansion opportunities in international markets such as Canada and Latin America and revealed its plans to introduce smaller-format stores called CityTarget, similar to that of its biggest rival, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT).

Moreover, Target announced its year-round price matching policy with the aim of offering its patrons the facility to match the prices being offered by online retail giants.

The company will match prices with Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) Amazon.com, Wal-Mart’s Walmart.com, Best Buy Co. Inc.’s (BBY) BestBuy.com, and Toysrus.com. Target believes that its price matching policy coupled with the REDcard reward program would provide it an edge over its competitors.

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