By Ariel Zilber
May 25, 2023 10:00am
Target has lost $9 billion in market value since angry social media users called for a boycott of the Minneapolis-based retailer over its rollout of the “PRIDE” collection featuring LGBTQ-friendly clothing for children.
A week ago Wednesday before the controversy erupted, Target’s stock closed at $160.96 a share, giving the big-box chain a market capitalization of $74.3 billion.
As of early trading on Thursday, however, shares of the company were trading off 1% at $141.76 — capping a weeklong tumble that has shrunk the “cheap chic” discount retailer’s value to $65.3 billion.
That amounts to a 12% drop that has shaved a whopping $9 billion off the company’s market capitalization.
Target said on Tuesday it was removing some items from its stores and making other changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide ahead of Pride month after intense backlash from some customers who confronted workers and tipped over displays.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement on Tuesday.
Target has been subjected to calls for a boycott over its rollout of its controversial “PRIDE” collection.
“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.”
Target said that customers knocked down Pride displays at some stores, angrily approached workers and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores.
That was just days after Target CEO Brian Cornell had defended the LBGTQ-friendly merchandise, saying it was “the right thing for society.”
Target declined to specify Wednesday which items it was removing but among the ones that garnered the most attention were “tuck friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to conceal their private parts.
Designs by Abprallen, a London-based company that designs and sells occult- and satanic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, have also created backlash.
The Pride merchandise has been on sale since early May. Pride month is held in June.
Target confirmed that it has moved its Pride merchandise from the front of the stores to the back in some Southern stores after confrontations and backlash from shoppers in those areas.
Target was criticized for its “tuck friendly” bathing suits for transgender people.
Target was also criticized for marketing rainbow-colored swimsuits to children.
Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren said on Tuesday that Target is about to see its business suffer in the same way that Bud Light did.
“I think that Target really soon is about to find out what happens when conservatives shop or rather don’t shop, because they are about to get Bud Light-ed,” Lahren told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday.
Bud Light has seen its sales drop for some six consecutive weeks — down 25% versus a year ago in the most recent week — since boycott calls erupted in response to its controversial marketing campaign with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.