Target is off to a terrible start to Pride Month, an irony not lost on observers of the brand’s ongoing controversy.
On Thursday JPMorgan downgraded its outlook for the retailer as Target tries to shake off its longest losing streak in 23 years following a massive outcry over the company’s decision to sell LGBTQ-themed gear in honor of the month recognizing the community. The bank predicts a new price target of $144, down from $182, for Target’s stock just as the summer season begins and Americans go shopping for vacations and backyard gatherings.
BREAKING: JP Morgan just downgraded Target's stock, after its longest losing streak in 23 years citing "too many concerns rising’.
Happy Pride Month Target!!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 1, 2023
“We continue to believe that the consumer is broadly weakening while the share of wallet shift away from goods (51% of [Target’s] sales) is ongoing,” wrote JPMorgan analyst Christopher Horvers. “While still positive on a [three-year] basis, [Target] has been giving back share on a [one-year] view and we believe this share loss could accelerate into back to school and linger into holiday given consumer pressures and recent company controversies. This could turn [Target’s] traffic negative after an impressive run of 12 consecutive positive quarters.”
The ongoing debate around transgender accommodations has left Americans on both the right and the left furious at the retailer, which began placing Pride gear on its shelves last month. News of the move was highlighted by conservatives who immediately called for a Bud Light-style boycott of the company’s 1,900 stores, leading company executives to originally double down on their Pride products before removing the line of clothing from its stores altogether. Left-wing protestors pounced on the about-face, with one store even receiving a bomb threat for “turning its back” on the LGBTQ community. The ensuing fallout led to a breathtaking loss of $10 billion in market valuation for the company in just 10 days.
How and when to engage on social issues like Pride Month continues to be a challenge for corporations who want to appear inclusive without provoking the wrath of right-wing activists who have demonstrated a formidable ability to mobilize against brands they perceive as going “woke.” Already, protestors have moved on to Target’s competitor Kohl’s over its line of LGBTQ-themed clothing for children and infants.