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Target Co-founder Bruce Dayton Dies at 97

Bruce Dayton, the last survivor of five brothers who inherited a department store and later founded what’s now Target Corp., died Nov. 13 at the age of 97, according to a published report. The brothers expanded Dayton's department store to the suburbs, where it anchored the first indoor shopping mall in the United States, in Edina, Minn., in the late 1950s. A few years later, the Daytons started Target.

The retired CEO of the Dayton Hudson Corp., Dayton stepped down in the early 1970s so his brother Kenneth could take the helm. He worked for that company and its forerunner, the Dayton Co., for 37 years, playing an integral role in taking the family business public and merging it with Detroit-based Hudson's to form Dayton Hudson, the predecessor to Target, the Minneapolis StarTribune reported. Dayton also developed the now-defunct B. Dalton bookstore chain.

In his 2008 book, "The Birth of Target," Dayton noted that the company succeeded because of good relations among the brothers, a shift to professional management in the 1970s, and a commitment to ethical corporate governance and corporate and individual philanthropy in the communities their stores served.

"Bruce was a great man and a visionary retail and business leader," said Target CEO Brian Cornell. "Most importantly, he proved that you can both do good business and do good while doing business."

Attuned to up-and-coming trends, the Daytons moved into discount retailing with Target, whose first store opened in Roseville, Minn., in 1962. The company's creative marketing and design sense ultimately derived from Dayton company strategies in the 1950s and '60s, the StarTribune noted.

In later years, Dayton was best known for his association with the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where he served as a trustee from 1942 until his death.

Among his survivors is his son Mark, the governor of Minnesota.

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