Target Reducing The Number Of Stores Selling LGBT+ Pride Merchandise After Backlash

Target announced on Friday that it won’t be carrying Pride Month merchandise in all of their stores this year due to the backlash they received in the past, and a decline in sales. 

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Target announced that not all of its stores will be displaying or selling LGBT+ Pride merchandise in June this year. The retailer stated this decision was made after the backlash and decline in sales they received in previous years relating to its collection that honors the LGBT+ community during Pride month.

Target operates about 2,000 stores. The company stated that the decision to limit which stores to include Pride-themed products like home goods, foods and beverages, and adult clothing apparel, was based on “guest insights and consumer research,” according to Bloomberg who initially reported on the retailer’s decision. 

“Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” Target said in a statement according to the Associated Press. 

“Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target.”

Target removed some of its Pride Month items from its stores last year, and made other changes to the LGBT+ merchandise itself leading up to Pride Month. Angry customers would often confront workers, mess up displays, and post on social media to get a rise out of even more people. 

Target’s reaction to this anti-LGBT+ rhetoric has been called out by a multitude of civil rights/ally groups throughout the nation. They’ve scolded the stores for complying with outraged customers who have posted hateful and threatening messages online regarding the LGBT+ community.  

Kelley Robinson, president of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said “Target’s decision was disappointing and risks alienating LGBTQ+ individuals and allies at the risk of not only profits, but also their values,” according to AP

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“Pride merchandise means something. LGBTQ+ people are in every zip code in this country, and we aren’t going anywhere.”

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Target isn’t the only company that has pulled back on their seeming support of the LGBT+ community as tensions between different groups of customers rise, and tensions over LGBT+ rights continue to tighten throughout the entire US.

Last year Bud Light received backlash after an online campaign featuring transgender activist and influencer Dylan Mulvaney was involved in the advertising. 

Transgender rights specifically have been a major point of contention in America, especially in recent years. THese politicized social issues have prompted lawmakers to step back from LGBT+ activism. 

Last August, CEO Brian Cornell told reporters “Target learned from the backlash and said the company would be more thoughtful about merchandise decisions for heritage months that celebrate the achievements of marginalized groups.”

Target said it “would have a slightly more focused assortment and will reconsider the mix of [our] own and national brands with external partners.”

“As we navigate an ever-changing operating and social environment, we’re applying what we’ve learned to ensure we’re staying close to our guests and their expectations of Target,” Cornell said.