Following a boycott from large swathes of the American public, Target has decided to address the substantial hit to their profits following the company’s controversial LGBTQ / Pride Month merchandise, especially items targeted towards minors.
In a recent call with reporters, Target executives disclosed that they had lowered the company’s profit goals for the year due to the precipitous decline in sales. The tumult was ignited in May 2022, when the brand was found retailing “chest binders” and “packing underwear” to emulate male anatomy. The issue was further inflamed upon discovering the availability of these items in children’s sizes.
Moreover, Target’s inventory included toddler shirts stating “Trans Rights Are Human Rights,” baby onesies bearing “My First Pride,” and child’s attire presenting various pronouns.
The controversy surrounding Target did not end there. Revelations of Target’s collaboration with a satanist designer, producing transgender-centric apparel and accessories brandishing slogans such as “Cure Transphobia Not Trans People” and “Too Queer for Here,” fanned the flames. A highpoint of this backlash was a consumer boycott during Pride Month in June, when Target’s merchandise was displayed prominently. A “Boycott Target” anthem further fueled the sentiment, drawing over 1.3 million views on YouTube.
Due largely to these events, Target’s stock value has plummeted by 16 percent this year, coupled with a 4.9 percent contraction in overall revenue. Addressing this, Target’s Chief Growth Officer Christina Hennington conveyed the company’s intent to recalibrate its merchandising strategy for Pride and similar “heritage month collections.” She affirmed, “You will see us celebrate Pride… but with these modifications.”
Target’s admission and corrective stance echo Bud Light’s recent trajectory. The beer brand faced significant consumer backlash after a controversy stemming from a partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, leading to an estimated $395 million in sales downturn. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, launched a slew of country-centric Bud Light commercials, aiming to reconnect with its core demographic.
Some are not convinced of Target’s pledges. Joseph Backholm, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, voiced his doubts.
“Given Target’s history, I would be very suspicious about what kind of ‘modifications’ there will actually be,” he remarked. He suggested that the company might be trying to placate its critics without making substantial changes, and even speculated that Target might be financially supporting LGBT organizations as a defensive move. “Time will tell,” concluded Backholm, “but this doesn’t convince me anything will be different.”