Target’s stock has dropped more than 10 percentage points since the company drew controversy for unveiling its latest line of LGBT products.
Since the backlash hit Target, the Minneapolis-based retailer’s stock has dropped some 12 percent, according to data published by the Dow Jones Market Data Group. That amounts to a loss of more than $9 billion in market value, the data show.
On Wednesday, May 17, right around the time the controversy erupted, Target’s stock closed at $160.96 per share, giving the firm a $74.3 billion market capitalization. But about nine days later, on Friday, May 26, the company’s stock slid to $138.93.
In the midst of the backlash—led by prominent conservative Twitter accounts—the company confirmed in a news release that it removed some of its “pride collection” clothing and placed those items in the back of stores in some locations. But the release attempted to cast the blame on individuals who were leading the boycott, alleging that there have been “threats” targeting Target employees’ “sense of safety.”
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” the firm said, without elaborating on the specific threats. It’s not clear if any police reports were filed by the company. “Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior,” it also said.
Starting earlier this month, some conservative influencers noted that the company was selling children’s clothing and products with LGBT imagery and statements, including LGBT-themed clothes for newborn infants.
Target’s website shows it recently released a “Pride Collection” for 2023, including the aforementioned onesies for infants. One onesie includes the statement “Bein Proud,” while another features rainbows and hearts along with what appears to be the transgender flag colors of dull pink, white, and light blue.
The firm is also selling LGBT books aimed at children, including “Bye-bye Binary” and “What Are Your Words,” which tells kids how to use transgender pronouns. Some products for children appear to feature drag queens, the website shows.
Conservative commentator Candace Owens, of the Daily Wire, suggested people boycott Target due to the products. “I cannot state enough how important is for people to choose not to shop at target. There has never been a company that has been more pro-transgenderism than Target,” she wrote earlier in May.
The company’s statement also tried to cast the “pride” items as part of a routine, yearly product lineup offered by the company.
“For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month,” it said, adding that Target will “focus” on “moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”
But Target’s actions drew the ire of several prominent Democrats, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The governor, in a Twitter post, accused Target of kowtowing to a “systematic attack” on LGBT individuals and alleged that black, Jewish, and Asian people would be targeted next. “This doesn’t stop here. You’re black? You’re Asian? You’re Jewish? You’re a woman? You’re next,” he wrote.
In response, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote that “no one is attacking the gay community,” adding: “They don’t want their children forcefully exposed to the radical side of pride … while simply shopping at Target. We don’t support your California child genital mutilation industry.”
One of the largest retailers in the United States, Target has faced boycott calls for years. In 2016, one boycott was launched against the firm after it debuted a policy that allowed men who claim to be women to use women’s and girls’ bathrooms.
At the time, the conservative American Family Association (AFA) called on its members to boycott Target for the retailer’s policy and accused it of possibly exposing women and girls to sexual predators. Target’s policy “means a man can simply say he feels like a woman today and enter the women’s restroom … this is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,” AFA said on its website at the time.
The backlash against Target is the latest in a series of customer reactions against companies pushing left-wing products.
Last month, Bud Light produced a beer with transgender social media personality Dylan Mulvaney’s face on it, triggering a widespread boycott call of the beer brand. An analysis shows that the company suffered a $15.7 billion loss in market capitalization in the wake of the boycott, while industry data shows that sales were down 23 percent as of the week ending May 6.
Michel Doukeris, Anheuser-Busch’s chief executive, to the Financial Times several weeks ago that “misinformation” and “confusion” are what triggered the boycott and decline of Bud Light sales. He further told investors that only “one can” with Mulvaney’s face was produced and that it wasn’t for sale.