Medtronic says bone graft investigation
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Medtronic says federal prosecutors have closed their investigation of the Minneapolis-based company’s InFuse bone graft.
The medical device maker was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. The government first subpoenaed documents from Medtronic in October 2008.
InFuse contains a genetically engineered protein that can stimulate bone growth. InFuse is approved for use in spinal, oral and dental graft procedures, but most of the time it was used in neck surgeries and other procedures. Physicians are allowed to use drugs and medical products off-label as they see fit, but companies cannot market their products for off-label uses.
Clay Co. woman convicted of setting fires
MOORHEAD (AP) — A Clay County woman who blamed her ex-lover for setting a series of fires at her farm has been convicted of arson.
Tara Andvik sobbed quietly as the guilty verdicts on three counts of arson were read in the courtroom late Tuesday night. The Forum says Andvik was handcuffed and led to the Clay County Jail.
The 34-year-old woman blamed six fires at her rural Barnesville property last fall on a former co-worker with whom she had an affair. Prosecutors say Keith Beam, of New Glarus, Wis., ended his relationship with Andvik when it became clear she hadn’t divorced her husband.
CHASKA (AP) — One of the state Senate’s leading Republicans has been denied a party endorsement to run for reelection to her Carver County seat.
The Star Tribune reports that neither Sen. Julianne Ortman nor challenger Bruce Schwichtenberg was able to achieve the super majority needed to get the GOP endorsement at their Senate district convention Tuesday night. That means the 10-year Senate veteran from Chanhassen must win an August primary in order to be her party’s candidate in November.
Ortman chairs the powerful Senate Taxes Committee and is also deputy leader of the Republican caucus. Schwichtenberg ran to her right and criticized her as a “career politician.”
Man seeks to vacate wrongful death ruling
ST. PAUL (AP) — A man acquitted of killing his girlfriend is asking a Ramsey County judge to vacate a $6 million civil judgment against him for her wrongful death.
Aaron Foster was found innocent in 2008 of fatally shooting Barbara Winn in Maplewood more than 30 years ago. Winn’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Foster last year.
When Foster failed to respond to a wrongful death summons and complaint, a judge ordered him to pay $2 million to each of Winn’s three children. Foster’s attorney argues his client was never personally served a summons.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press says the plaintiff’s attorney plans to respond to the motion to vacate later this week. Winn died of a gunshot wound to the chest in 1981 while struggling with Foster, her boyfriend.
Target’s 1Q profits
up 1.2 percent
NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. raised its profit outlook Wednesday after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results that were boosted by increased spending on food and cheap chic fashions.
Like most retailers, Target has had the challenge of trying to find ways of luring cautious U.S. shoppers into stores amid a flood of mixed economic news that has them scrutinizing every purchase. The job and housing markets are still shaky, but falling gas prices have given consumers hope.
Target, which mixes stylish clothes and trendy decor under the same roof as toothpaste and cereal, recently has had success drawing customers into stores with two growth initiatives. It has been offering a larger selection of foods and a program it started in 2010 that gives shoppers a 5 percent discount when they pay with Target-branded credit and debit cards.
The retailer, based in Minneapolis, said profit rose 1.2 percent to $697 million, or $1.04 per share, in the quarter ended April 28. That compares with $689 million, or 99 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding costs associated with its expansion into Canada next year, the per-share results would have been $1.11. Revenue rose 5.9 percent to $16.86 billion.
Results beat the profit of $1.02 per share on revenue of $16.83 billion analysts polled by FactSet were expecting.
Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 5.3 percent, the strongest performance in six years for that period. The measure is considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health.
The strong showing came despite a weak finish to the quarter. Like most retailers, Target’s business in April was disappointing as warmer-than-usual weather earlier in the year pulled sales forward.
To boost sales, the company has teamed up with unique specialty shops to offer limited edition merchandise, from dog biscuits to platform shoes. The shops were launched earlier this month. The discounter also plans to create mini shops of Apple Inc. products in 25 of its stores this year.
Additionally, Target has teamed up with designer Todd Oldham and will be launching an exclusive collection of art supply and activity kits for children under the name Kid Made Modern for the fall.
The company also preparing to expand into Canada next year, its first expansion outside the U.S. It’s poised to begin opening the first of between 125 and 135 stores in Canada at former Zellers locations acquired from Hudson’s Bay Co.
Based on better-than-expected first-quarter results, Target raised its full-year profit guidance by 5 cents. Target now expects earnings per share to be in the range of $4.60 per share to $4.80 per share. Analysts had expected $4.28 per share.
Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel said during an address to investors that company officials remain “confident in our strategy” despite that they expect “the current economic recovery will continue to be slow and uneven.”
Target’s stock rose 24 cents to close at $55.32 Wednesday.