Target is dealing with the fallout from its Pride merchandising marketing campaign, which was forced to remove and relocate some items due to employee safety, following months of investors losing billions in market value.
The Minneapolis–based retailer faced criticism last month after offering female–style swimsuits that have the option to “tuck” male genitalia in addition to a variety of adult clothing with slogans such as “Super Queer.”
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we‘ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and [well–being] while at work,” a Target spokesperson said in a statement.
“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,” the statement continued. “Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”
As a result of the controversy, Target‘s stock has seen a decline, with shares losing more than 20% during the quarter. This is in addition to having lost more than $12.4 billion in market value in recent months.
Analysts have cited the possible downturn in sales due to inflation and the resumption of student loan payments stipulated by Congress‘ debt ceiling agreement as the main causes of the stock‘s declines.
“The resumption of student loan payments outpaces the balance of the impact of the tax cut and can potentially pull back spending, as students are among the largest cohort of Target shoppers,” wrote KeyBanc Capital Markets in a note.
JPMorgan Chase also downgraded its stock, citing the possibility of a decline in sales due to consumers pulling back spending amid persistent inflation.
Despite the recent setbacks, Target has reiterated its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, telling Fox News Digital that it will “continue to celebrate Pride Month and look forward to the days ahead.”
“Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year,” the spokesperson said.