Yet Target's actions suggest otherwise: Far from treating Ackman like a mere irritant, it is spending some $11 million to promote its own candidates -- money, Steinhafel notes, that would be better spent improving its business. "This is a very challenging economic environment," he says, "and it's unfortunate that we are having to invest our time in [fighting] a proxy contest."
As a side note-- I was unaware that Target was apparently competing well with Wal-Mart and the stats in the article are, upon a second reading, a bit misleading. The only fundamentals-related information shows Wal-Mart up on 2008 and Target down, and the bit on Target's relative edge in stock price gains likely benefits from a favorable choice in start and end dates. All in all, I think that's about as favorable a reading of the retail tea leaves as Target could hope for.