Was it Election Day? There was plenty else happening at Target.
On Tuesday, the Minneapolis-based retailer announced it would close 11 stores, including one in Austin, Minn.
It also swatted away an investment firm trying to buy shares on the cheap and started selling tchotchkes made by 3-D printers, latching on to one of the hottest things in high-tech.
The store-closing step is one that Target takes at least once a year after a financial review of its 1,800 U.S. outlets.
By including the store in Austin, Target is closing a Minnesota store for the first time since 2003, when it closed a store at Broadway and Lyndale in north Minneapolis.
The 11 stores will be shuttered by Feb. 1, around the end of Target’s fiscal year. In May, it also closed eight stores.
The combined 19 closings in the current fiscal year far exceeds the number it shuttered in each of the previous two. Last year, Target closed four stores and opened 19, according to its most recent annual report. The year before, it closed five stores, while opening 23.
“The decision to close a Target store is not made lightly,” Evan Lapiska, a Target spokesman, wrote in an e-mail. “We typically decide to close a store after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of a particular location. In most cases, a store is closed as a result of seeing several years of decreasing profitability.”
He added that eligible store employees at those locations will be offered transfers to other Target stores. If they don’t opt to transfer, they will be offered a separation package.
In addition to the Minnesota store, other store closings are in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, and Texas.
Separately, Target put out a warning to investors on Tuesday afternoon that TRC Capital Corp. had launched a mini-tender offer to purchase up to 2 million shares of Target’s stock from investors at $59 per share, about 4.5 percent below Target’s current stock price. Target recommended shareholders reject the offer.
The mini-tender offer represents less than a half-percent of the number of Target shares.
TRC is a Toronto firm with a history of making these kinds of offers at below-market prices, hoping to profit from shareholders who agree to sell their shares. Companies often respond by putting out warnings to investors.
Earlier Tuesday, Target announced a new partnership with Shapeways, an online 3-D printing company, to offer personalized charms, rings and ornaments in various shapes, such as states and initials, this holiday season.
When customers go to Shapeways.com/Target, they can pick out the item and customize it by including a monogram or special message. Then Shapeways will put its 3-D printers to work and the items should arrive at customers’ doorsteps within two to three weeks.