Shareholders in general merchandise retail powerhouse Target last week rejected an alternative list of directors put up by activist shareholder William Ackman.

In a heated battle, Ackman, the head of Pershing Square Capital Management, sought to have his own roster of directors, including himself, replace the existing board to better compete with rival Wal-Mart.

Target spent $11m (£6.7m) defending itself and Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and chief executive, said he would now be able to re-focus on the company’s retail operations.