Target Reduces LGBTQ Merchandise but Still Promotes ‘Pride’

Target Reduces LGBTQ Merchandise but Still Promotes ‘Pride’

Target, the Minneapolis-based retail giant, has announced it is cutting back on the number of stores that will carry Pride Month-related merchandise in June, a move that some observers view as a sign that its leftwing social activism has backfired.

The retailer said on May 9 that it would be selling its Pride merchandise on its website and in a select number of stores based on “historical sales performance.” It noted that in addition to selling LGBTQ-themed home and food and beverage items, apparel from its Pride collection this year will be tailored to adults, not children.

The decision follows a year of reduced sales after the retail chain faced backlash over its Pride-themed products, which included a one-piece swimsuit for transgender females.

Dow Jones Market Data Group numbers show Target had lost some $14 billion in market value as of June 2023. Target’s 2023 second quarter earnings report also showed a decline in sales year over year—Target sold $24.4 million worth of goods in that quarter, compared to $25.7 million during the same period in 2022.

Despite the decline, Target came back six months later with an LGBTQ-themed collection that included a Nutcracker holding an LGBTQ Progress Pride flag and wearing a rainbow-colored hat.

Ethan Peck, an associate with the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, told Decision: “Target’s divisive LGBT activism is likely the outcome of capitulating to increasingly radical demands from activist groups like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); and particularly, to HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which, much like a social credit system, scores and ranks companies according to their adherence to specific criteria. In order to receive a perfect or high score on the CEI—as Target has year after year for over a decade—companies must meet all of the CEI’s radical criteria, including marketing to the LGBT community in exactly the sort of divisive way that Target so disastrously did.”

Christians and other conservatives see Target’s announcement as proof that customers’ voices are being heard.

“This shows that our efforts are paying off,” Walker Wildmon, a vice president with the American Family Association. “Consumers are fed up with the political garbage being pushed by corporate America. Consumers want companies to stay out of ideological battles and focus on their core business products and services.”

In its statement, Target insisted that its decades-long support of the LGBTQ agenda has not changed, but the company’s decision to scale back its Pride products has rankled LGBTQ activists. The president of the Human Rights Campaign told National Public Radio that the move “alienates LGBTQ+ individuals and allies at the risk of not only their bottom line but also their values.”

But for disgusted customers who have boycotted the chain since last year, the announcement of a reduced Pride effort this year is a “gratifying twist” wrote Suzanne Bowdey in The Washington Stand.

Above: Gay Pride items for sale at a Florida Target store in May 2023.

Photo: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

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