Target Sues Kmart Over ‘False’ Campaign

NEW YORK–Target Tuesday said it is filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota charging rival Kmart with “perpetrating a nationwide false advertising campaign.” The Minneapolis-based Target said it found that 74 percent of Kmart’s advertised price comparisons in its “Dare to Compare” ad campaign were inaccurate.

“An astounding number of the [Kmart] signs have the wrong Target price, regularly misstate Kmart’s own prices and often make comparisons on items that the competing Target store does not even sell. These errors have occurred nationwide,” said James T. Hale, Target’s ex-vp and general counsel.

Before filing the lawsuit, Target said it notified Kmart of overwhelming errors in its comparisons to Target. According to Target, when Kmart continued to promote false price comparisons, Target retained independent market research firm Leo J. Shapiro and Associates, Minneapolis, to document the scope of the errors.

Target’s suit charges Kmart with violating the federal Lanham Act, which governs truth in advertising. Troy, Mich.-based Kmart’s in-store signage is handled by FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati. Kmart’s lead ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, was not involved.