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Target’s quarterly sales sank for the first time in six years.
Target revealed this week that it has reaped the rewards of its Pride Month collection with a dismal quarterly report that showed the company’s sales falling for the first time in six years.
Target’s quarterly sales sank 5.4% in the second quarter, which ended July 29, compared to the same period last year, the company said in its second quarter earnings report, released on Wednesday.
The depressing result is that Target has now lowered both its overall sales and profit expectations for the whole year, admitting the cause is “recent sales trends,” which were impacted by the “strong reaction to this year’s Pride assortment.”
The rest of the data doesn’t look great either. Online sales fell 10.5%. The number of transactions and the average dollar amount of a transaction also dropped. Meanwhile, Target’s total revenue of $24.8 billion was 4.9% lower than last year.
The Minneapolis-based retail behemoth’s travails are a sobering reminder to other major companies that not everyone is on board with an LGBT agenda being shoved down their throats when they are trying to pick up milk or buy their kids new shoes.
Back in May, Target faced backlash over its “Pride” collection, which included a kids swimsuit with a tag reading “thoughtfully fit on multiple body types and gender expressions.”
Also featured were LGBT-themed books aimed at young children, such as “The Pronoun Book” and “Bye Bye Binary,” a story about a “joyful baby” who “refuses to conform to the gender binary and instead chooses toys, colors, and clothes that make them happy.”
Target offered an adult “Pride” collection as well, which included “tuck-friendly” swimsuits for men who identify as women to tuck their genitals, a t-shirt with the words “Queer Queer Queer Queer,” and a hoodie reading “Not A Phase.”
The discovery that the designer of some of Target’s “Pride” collection items has also apparently created products with Satanic imagery sent customers over the edge.
Customers quickly demanded a boycott, causing Target’s stock price to fall nearly 20%. It has not recovered.
Eventually, Target pulled some of its “Pride” merchandise threats to employees’ safety and moved “Pride” displays to the back of some of its stores.
On Wednesday, Target came right out and admitted that the “Pride” collection was a significant negative for the company.
“Traffic and top line trends were affected by the reaction to our Pride assortment,” Target’s CFO Michael Fiddelke said in an earnings call after the second quarter report was released.
The Pride collection prompted a “negative guest reaction,” CEO Brian Cornell admitted.
However, “Pride” is also not Target’s sole trouble, Cornell said.
Target is also battling an “unacceptable amount” of retail theft, including organized retail crime, that has become increasingly violent and dangerous for workers, according to the company’s CEO.
Store theft that included “violence or threats of violence” surged 120% during the first five months of the year, Target’s CEO said.
Organized retail theft has spiked in cities around the country, with videos from some of the incidents showing hooded figures in dark clothes darting in and out of stores with merchandise, often expensive luxury items.
Critics blame progressive prosecutors who they say allow criminals to get off without serious consequences, if they face consequences at all.
Inflation is also contributing to Target’s woes, the company said, with shoppers buying fewer nonessentials like clothing and home decor, opting instead to save their money for food and bills.
Target saw a huge bounce in sales during the pandemic with stock prices peaking in November 2021, but the company has struggled to maintain that momentum, and the “Pride” collection certainly did not help.
Of course, Target is not the only company suffering from “Pride” backlash this year.
The brand with the most LGBT woes is probably Bud Light, which faced a massive boycott this year over the company’s partnership with trans-identifying influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has lost about $395 million in U.S. sales since the boycott. Bud Light has also been bumped out of its spot as the nation’s top-selling beer by Modelo.
Meanwhile, however, other retailers soared in their second quarter sales.
Walmart’s store sales jumped 6.4% in the second quarter, well above the 4% experts expected, the company said Thursday. E-commerce spiked a whopping 24%, mostly thanks to pickup and delivery orders.
Walmart has now raised its annual profit forecast for the second straight quarter after the positive second quarter report this week.
This week, Target concluded that the “Pride” backlash is a “signal for us to pause, adapt and learn.”
So far, the company appears to be taking that signal seriously. Target plans to make some changes to its “Pride” collection, which could include changing the timing of the products, the placement in stores, and which brands are for sale.
Next year, Target and other companies could potentially opt for more muted “Pride” celebration to protect their bottom lines, given the fed up message many of their customers sent them this year.