"When Target opened in 1962, we believed we could build a sustainable business that strengthened communities for the long term by continually anticipating the consumer needs of the moment. And today, 50 years later, our commitment to that ideal is as strong as it was on opening day", the CEO message reports. "Central to our management philosophy was the belief that our business could benefit communities, and that strong, healthy communities would be essential to lasting business success."The importance of this approach is paying off in the profitability of both the company and the stock price. Target's trailing-twelve-month (TTM) operating cash flow is a healthy $5.57 billion on annual revenue (TTM) of $71.34 billion. The 2.3% dividend is sustainable as it comes from a relatively low payout ratio of 28% of the company's earnings.
The company's corporate philosophy, which is echoed in the company's CEO Web site message, has been expressed anecdotally by both customers and civic leaders in communities where TGT has opened stores. What the CEO publicly proclaims, if abided by, will galvanize a customer loyalty that has worked for decades.
"A distinguishing feature of Target's growth and success is that they come from serving our communities, through a business that makes it easy, affordable and fun for guests to find food and everyday essentials, high-quality apparel and home goods, and products and services that support health and wellness and help guests lead more eco-friendly lives," the CEO wrote. "These are building blocks for community strength and stability -- and being able to provide them year after year, in unique and exciting ways, is the best job in the world. But, to do this sustainably, we cannot do it alone. We need business, community and civic partners around the world who share and inform our principled approach."How refreshing to see and hear that any big-box retailer is taking a "principled approach" in the way it does business and serve the communities where it has a footprint. It's also good to read this article during a time when the stock market is having a bit of a time-out. Target shares closed Friday at $62.23, down over 1%. Fortunate and patient investors may see a retest of the Oct. 11 intraday low of $61.22. The analysts' one-year consensus target stock price estimate is above $69. With a 2.3% dividend, investors could experience a rewarding total return -- Target style! At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. Make smarter trading decisions and provide investment ideas that could help make you richer. Bryan Ashenberg does the dirty work so you don't have to!