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Shares of Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $68.87 on Wednesday, Mar 20, owing to the company’s strategic initiatives toward enhancing its global footprint.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) operator of general merchandise and food discount stores in the United States eventually closed at $68.52, recording a robust return of 17.2% year to date. The company currently trades at a forward P/E of 14.69x, a 3.4% discount to the peer group average of 15.20x.

Target has long been focused on the Canadian market, and plans to open 124 stores in 2013 with the first 24 outlets slated to be inaugurated in March across Ontario.

New store openings outside the United States are expected to be accretive to the company’s top and bottom lines and improve its cash flow generation capability.

Alongside, Target is extending its reach in the fast developing cooking and kitchenware market with a view to draw more traffic by enhancing its portfolio of offerings. Target entered into 2 separate transactions to acquire CHEFS Catalog and assets of Cooking.com.

Target 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.

Further, the company will match prices with Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN - Analyst Report) Amazon.com, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (WMT - Analyst Report) Walmart.com, Best Buy Co. Inc.’s (BBY - Analyst Report) BestBuy.com, and Toysrus.com.

Going forward, Target with its smaller-format stores called CityTarget along with its price matching policy and the REDcard reward program; certainly enjoys a competitive advantage over its peers.

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