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Target honors shareholder commitment

A lot of change is taking place at Target these days, but one thing the company isn’t messing with is a generous dividend that has helped sustain the value of the stock price.

The Target board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 52 cents a share this week, a 21% increase from the 43 cents paid last quarter. Target is among an elite group of companies that has paid a dividend for 188 consecutive quarters since it became publicly held in October 1967.

The increase comes as Target continues to rebound from a massive data breach last Christmas that hurt fourth quarter sales and profits and put pressure on the company’s stock price. The sell off might have been worse were it not for an already respectable dividend payout and a strong show of support for future increases from CFO and interim CEO John Mulligan.

In announcing the 52 cent payout on June 11, Mulligan and the board were following through on a commitment made when the company reported first quarter results last month.

“We returned $272 million in dividends this quarter, up from $232 million last year as our 43 cents per share quarterly dividend was more than 19% higher than a year ago,” Mulligan said at the time. “We plan to recommend that our board authorize another similar increase this summer.”

The action the company took this week, boosting the quarterly payout to 52 cents, puts the annual payout at $2.08 a share and gives the company a dividend yield of approximately 3.6% based on recent share price of slightly more than $57.