Target Takes Pride

Target announced earnings in a call with reporters and acknowledged being hurt by the company’s “Pride” promotions:

The retailer said it expected sales to decline again in the current quarter and lowered its profit goal for the full year. Executives said they would still mark Pride Month next year but with a more focused assortment of merchandise.
“As we navigate an ever-changing operating and social environment, we are applying what we learned,” Brian Cornell, Target’s longtime chief executive, said on a call with reporters.

Backlash surrounding the Pride collection ate into sales, particularly in June, after Target started selling the annual collection. Sales recovered steadily in July, Cornell said.

The liberal Wall Street Journal news operation sugar-coats what actually happened:

In May, Target offered Pride products for sale, as it had for the past 10 years. The items helped mark Pride Month, the celebration of the LGBTQ community, with related slogans, rainbow colors and items such as gender-neutral swimsuits.

They weren’t “gender-neutral,” they were girls’ suits specially equipped with room for male genitals. But Target has more or less gotten the message:

The company will shift how it sells Pride and other “heritage month collections” going forward, said Target Chief Growth Officer Christina Hennington on the call with reporters.

She said the company would have a slightly more focused assortment, adjust its store displays and reconsider the mix of brands it sells.

“You will see us celebrate Pride, you will see us celebrate these heritage moments, but with these modifications,” she said.

People will be watching next year’s “Pride” collection.

Perhaps more important than the short-term effects of consumer anger is the broader economic context. The Biden administration tells us the economy is great, and they can’t understand why people are unhappy. Maybe Target can explain:

For Target, the sales decline surrounding its Pride collection conflict comes as it faces already-weak demand. Earlier this year Target said sales had slowed as shoppers shifted spending away from pandemic-era favorites including patio décor and most discretionary items as prices for food rose in the midst of high inflation.

That consumer dynamic is challenging for the Minneapolis-based retailer, which counts on discretionary categories such as toys and electronics for around 54% of its annual sales, according to financial filings. While shoppers tend to flock to Target for trendy items, they gravitate to discounters such as dollar stores or Walmart for food during lean times.

Consumers can’t afford discretionary items because food is so expensive. Thanks to Bidenflation.

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