Tag Archive for: LGBTQIA+

Target Retreats from LGBT Merch after Year-Long Profit Bloodbath

This year’s Pride Month is shaping up to be a much more humble affair at Target. In an extremely gratifying twist, the company that bragged their transgender line is “great for our brand” has changed its mind after a year-long stock market bruising. It’s the latest evidence that the wildfire of consumer activism is not only spreading but forcing the kind of change most people never thought possible.

If you asked conservatives two years ago, stopping the woke at major brands would’ve been a victory. But reversing the woke? That’s a tectonic shift in the power structure of Big Business. For once, CEOs — who for years have thrown their radical agenda in the face of shoppers — are feeling enough pain in their profit margins to stop and ask if appeasing the far-Left is worth it.

Target’s CEO Brian Cornell, who flaunted the stores’ chest binders and tucking swimming suits for kids as “progress,” finally counted the cost of his social extremism late last summer. By the end of a dismal August, he didn’t apologize, but he did admit that it was time for some soul searching. As his first and second quarter earnings tanked, he hinted at changes ahead. “As we navigate an ever-changing operating and social environment, we’re applying what we’ve learned to ensure we’re staying close to our guests and their expectations of Target.”

What Cornell learned, Americans will be pleased to know, is that trans activism is the fastest road to financial insolvency. After thumbing his nose at Christmas shoppers with shelves full of LGBT pandering, the full weight of consumer outrage started to sink in. Like his counterparts at Anheuser-BuschNikeDisneyPlanet FitnessRipCurl, and Doritos, he sent shoppers running for the exits.

But the activism has obviously gotten to an unsustainable point for his business, forcing Target to announce what would have been unthinkable a year and a half ago: a significant reduction in Pride products. On its website Thursday, the company wanted people to know that this summer’s LGBT merchandise will not only be limited but designed with adults — not children — in mind.

“We’re offering a collection of products including adult apparel and home and food and beverage items, curated based on consumer feedback,” the notice read. “The collection will be available on Target.com and in select stores, based on historical sales performance.” Of the company’s 2,000 stores nationwide, only some will carry the items that landed them in hot water last year.

Naturally, the company’s course-correction didn’t thrill the corporate hostage-takers in the LGBT movement, who immediately blasted Target’s decision to put profitability first. Kelley Robinson, president of the extreme Human Rights Campaign, said Cornell’s move was a disappointing betrayal of their progressive values. “Pride merchandise means something,” she insisted. “LGBTQ+ people are in every zip code in this country, and we aren’t going anywhere.”

The company’s PR team rushed to reassure Robinson and other activists, saying in a statement, “Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” headquarters wrote. “Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target.”

So while Americans can (and should) celebrate the difference they’re making with their money, the work isn’t over. This muted approach to Pride is still an effort to play both sides. As Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Washington Stand, “CEO Brian Cornell is discovering that customers do ‘expect more’ now that many consumers are spending less at Target because of its LGBTQ fixation. By avoiding Target, consumers are getting the woke corporation’s attention, but not necessarily their behavior. They should continue spending elsewhere until their behavior meets consumers’ expectations.”

FRC’s Meg Kilgannon also chimed in, pointing out that Pride Month’s celebration of “unnatural lifestyles, proclivities, and identities has become more and more obnoxious over time.” The idea that Target is “setting a limit on Pride merchandising and marketing is remarkable for a corporate America too willing to bend the knee to HRC’s fake business scores,” she agreed. “As American shoppers endure rising prices and lower wages, retail stores suffer — not only from Bidenomics — but their own ridiculous investments in social justice and culture war issues that have nothing to do with profits and everything to do with virtue signaling to shape public opinion.”

“I haven’t shopped in Target recently and don’t plan to,” Kilgannon said. “But it is nice to think that the June rainbow radicals might be dialing things back. If people stop shopping in June, or at least stop spending money in stores and with businesses with rainbow logos and beyond, more retailers will get the message.”

Others, like expert Stephen Soukup, author of “The Dictatorship of Woke Capital,” urge people not to be duped by Target’s “half-measures.” “They seem unlikely to make anyone happy,” he told TWS, “while almost certainly frustrating observers and activists on all sides of the issue. Target says, for example, that it is carefully assessing which stores will have LGBTQ merchandise this year,” he pointed out. “That’s irrelevant in the digital age. Wherever the displays are, they will be videoed and uploaded to social media, causing every bit of outrage and frustration they have caused in previous years,” Soukup said.

“Likewise,” he explained, “it’s important to remember that Target took a hit on its Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index score last year, simply because it responded to customer anger at its displays. The company will almost certainly get nicked again this year for supposedly capitulating to anti-LGBTQ sentiment by limiting its Pride Month offerings.” Ultimately, Soukup predicted, “Both outcomes are likely to aggravate Target’s shareholders. It took several months last year for the company’s stock price to recover from its Pride Month-induced freefall, and a repeat of that disaster may well cause larger and more activist investors to question management’s competence and foresight.”

Regardless, there’s no denying that Americans are moving the needle on corporate extremism. As Perkins said on Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) “Truth Be Told” podcast before he was elected speaker, “This is not a gray area” for most people. Even non-believers understand the difference between males and females. “And I actually think this is why we’re seeing such significant pushback across the nation…” When Americans are silent, he warned, “we are playing right along with the deception that is destroying the lives of many young people.”

At the end of the day, he acknowledged, “What we have is not our own. … God has entrusted you with the resources to buy food, clothing, the necessities of life. Do you think He would really want you sending that to an entity that uses the profits … [to attack] the biblical truth that he expects us to live by? So it really comes down to a stewardship issue. It’s not about boycotting. [It’s about using money] in a way that would honor God. … And I’ll have to be very, very clear. I do not think being caught in a Target store is honoring God.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


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