Target, the American retail giant, has witnessed a significant decline of $9 billion in its market value within a week. This decline came in the aftermath of a controversy surrounding its “PRIDE” collection, which triggered outrage and prompted calls for a boycott on certain social media platforms.
The company’s stock, which was valued at $160.96 per share a week ago, plummeted to $141.76 on Thursday, marking a 12% reduction in its overall market capitalization.
The controversy emerged when Target introduced its “PRIDE” collection, featuring LGBTQ-friendly clothing for children, in anticipation of Pride Month in June. The release of these items in early May garnered backlash, leading to heated confrontations in stores and the dissemination of threats on social media.
Notably, attention was particularly drawn to items such as women’s swimsuits labeled as “tuck friendly” and designs by Abprallen, a London-based company known for creating LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories with occult and satanic themes.
In response to mounting pressure, Target made an announcement on Tuesday outlining measures to address the situation. The company stated that it would be removing certain items from its stores and relocating its Pride merchandise from prominent displays to less conspicuous areas in select Southern stores.
An insider reported that some stores, primarily in rural southern areas, were moving their Pride sections to smaller, less visible locations. The rush to minimize the Pride sections came following “emergency” calls and the insider likened the response to the fear of a “Bud Light situation”.
In addition to product relocation, the focus of the call was on how to ensure the safety of Target employees amid the backlash. The change was confirmed at rural outlets in South Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia, but most regular employees were not informed in advance.
Target cited threats that were affecting the well-being and sense of safety of its team members as the rationale behind these changes. The current predicament continues to draw parallels to Bud Light’s recent decline in sales, which followed a controversial marketing campaign involving a transgender social media influencer.
On Wednesday, liberal Democrat and California Governor Gavin Newsom was outraged at the decision by Target. Newsom, posting on Twitter, took aim at company CEO Brian Cornell for acquiescing to demands from protestors that its latest line of Pride gear be pulled in advance of a planned push for Pride Month celebrations in June.
“This isn’t just a couple stores in the South,” the governor snarked in a dig at more conservative states. “There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country.”
“This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next,” added the governor.
CEO of Target Brian Cornell selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists is a real profile in courage.
This isn’t just a couple stores in the South. There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country.
Wake up America.
This doesn’t stop here.… https://t.co/1vRgukaT0g
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 24, 2023
A group of mothers named ‘The Battlecry’ called for a nationwide boycott of Target due to the company’s display of LGBTQ Pride-related merchandise. They voiced their concern on the Jesse Waters Show, taking issue with what they see as the over-sexualization of children through the promotion of controversial ideologies. The mothers urged Americans to print out their ‘call to action’ cards, available on Instagram, and leave them in Target stores to express their discontent.