Target loses $10 billion after boycott calls over gay-friendly clothing


May 28, 2023 | 1:01 p.m

Target has lost $10 billion in market valuation over the past 10 days as the popular retailer continues to face backlash over its Pride-themed children’s clothing line.

A week ago Wednesday, Target enjoyed its share value at $160.96 a share, but after calls to boycott the Minneapolis retailer over the “PRIDE” group, the value plummeted and closed Friday at $138.93 a share.

A decline in the value of blue chips of more than 22% roughly translates to a $10.1 billion loss in valuation to just $64.2 billion for Target, which has nearly 2,000 stores nationwide.

The downward slide marked the retailer’s lowest share price in nearly three years. The last time the company saw a drop of nearly this magnitude was in 2022 after inventories leveled in the wake of an unprecedented spike during the COVID pandemic.

Target, caught in the middle of America’s culture wars over gender, moved the Pride department at some Southern stores away from the front last week after it said the shows were stopped by protesters, who also confronted workers.

Target is facing backlash over its latest “PRIDE” collection, which features Pride-themed clothing.
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Much of the backlash surrounds clothing marketed to children.
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The retailer also said it would remove the items from the collection, but didn’t specify which ones. Among the ones that garnered the most attention were the “bend-friendly” women’s swimwear that allows trans women who haven’t undergone gender-affirming surgeries to hide their private parts, as well as rainbow-themed children’s clothing.

While many have likened the conservative boycott against Target to that of Bud Light — which saw sales collapse after partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz doubted a backlash against the retailer would have the same impact.

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Speaking on his podcast Friday, the Republican said that while there are multiple alternatives to replace Anheuser-Busch brands, the same is not the case for Target.

Target said it removed some items after harassment from customers at Southern stores.
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Swimsuits designed for transgender individuals have been at the forefront of controversy.
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Instead, he compared the retailer to Disney, which suffered a backlash after speaking out against Florida’s alleged “Don’t Say Like Me” law last year, but remains a financial giant.

“You can get annoyed at Disney but if your kids really want to go to Disney World, it can be hard to say no. There aren’t a lot of alternatives. There are Six Flags but Disney World is a one of a kind show,” Cruz said.

“There is only Snow White or Cinderella or Toy Story from Pixar. This is a product that many people find difficult to part with permanently.”

Target has nearly 2,000 stores nationwide and has seen its inventory value drop more than 22% in the past 10 days.
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The Texas politician said efforts against the target could wither quickly because “conservatives have historically not been so good at the county.”

Target CEO Brian Cornell has defended LBGTQ-friendly merchandise, saying selling them is “the right thing for the community.”

Target did not immediately return a request for comment on Sunday.

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