Since the emergence of fervent social media calls for a boycott of Target’s “PRIDE” collection, the retailer has faced a significant setback. In just one week, Target witnessed a staggering $9 billion decline in market value, as both its stock price and market capitalization took a substantial hit. The outrage from discontented online users has proven detrimental to the Minneapolis-based company, leaving it in a challenging position.
Amidst the turmoil, Target’s stock closed at $160.96 per share and held a market capitalization of $74.3 billion a mere week ago. However, the situation took a turn for the worse, and as of early trading on Thursday, the company’s shares dropped 1% to $141.76. This week-long decline has drastically diminished the value of the beloved “cheap chic” discount retailer, reducing its market capitalization to $65.3 billion. The overall plummet translates to a notable 12% decrease, resulting in a colossal loss of $9 billion.
Addressing the concerns raised by dissatisfied customers, Target issued a statement on Tuesday, expressing the need to modify its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide ahead of Pride month. The company cited instances where their team members felt unsafe and subjected to threats during this period. In response to these volatile circumstances, Target vowed to make adjustments to its plans, including the removal of contentious items that triggered the most intense confrontations.
Notably, the controversial “PRIDE” collection included LGBTQ-friendly clothing for children, which proved to be a lightning rod for criticism. Target faced a boycott campaign, with social media users vehemently opposing the retailer’s decision to roll out this collection. The backlash was exacerbated by incidents within some stores where customers knocked down Pride displays, approached workers aggressively, and even shared threatening videos on various social media platforms.
In an attempt to rectify the situation, Target CEO Brian Cornell initially defended the LGBTQ-friendly merchandise, deeming it a societal imperative. However, faced with mounting pressure, the company decided to reevaluate its strategy. While specific details regarding the removal of items remain undisclosed, it is evident that the contentious “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits designed for transgender individuals drew significant attention. Additionally, designs by Abprallen, a London-based company specializing in occult- and satanic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, sparked further controversy.
Target’s Pride merchandise has been available since early May, and it has faced considerable scrutiny for marketing rainbow-colored swimsuits to children. In response to confrontations and backlash from shoppers, the company relocated its Pride merchandise from the front to the back of some Southern stores. This decision aimed to minimize friction and create a more conducive shopping environment in those areas.
As the situation unfolds, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren drew parallels between Target and Bud Light, predicting a similar downturn in business for the retail giant. Bud Light experienced a decline in sales for six consecutive weeks, with boycott calls erupting following a controversial marketing campaign featuring transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
In conclusion, Target finds itself in the midst of a significant market downturn due to widespread calls for a boycott over its LGBTQ-friendly collection. The company has witnessed a remarkable $9 billion drop in market value within a week. Target has responded by taking steps to address customer concerns, removing contentious items and modifying its plans for LGBTQ+ merchandise ahead of Pride month. As the situation develops, it remains to be seen how Target will navigate these challenges and regain market confidence.