Target Stock Plunges as Company Backtracks on LGBTQ+ Push

Target has removed some of its LGBTQ+ merchandise from its stores ahead of Pride month in June, after a growing controversy around its “tuck-friendly” swimsuits caused a backlash among many conservatives. The retailer’s shares have since fallen and some staff have reported “threats.”

The swimsuits, which allow trans women who have not had gender-affirming operations to hide their private parts, caused a stir among some conservatives who accused the American retailers of trying to sell the product to children. Target told the Associated Press that kids’ swimsuits in the Pride collection did not include the “tuck-friendly” label that angered so many customers.

In a statement announcing Target’s decision to remove or relocate some of the LGBTQ+ apparel, the company said the recent backlash had exposed its staff to potentially violent confrontations with shoppers.

Target, retailer
A Target customer looks at a display of board games in San Francisco, California. A backlash from customers and conservatives has prompted the retailer to remove some LGBTQ+ merchandise.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“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 company has not specified the items it was removing from its collection, which will no longer be available in stores or on its website, as the products are still under review.

Target employees told Fox News on Tuesday that they were moving the Pride merchandise from the front of its stores to the back in some Southern outlets to avoid confrontations with shoppers.

Other items besides the “tuck-friendly” swimsuits causing anger among conservatives, include a satanic-themed T-shirt that has made the rounds on social media. The products, part of the LGBTQ+ brand Abprallen, were immediately removed, according to Reuters.

The retailer’s announcement follows calls for a boycott by many customers, as well as high-profile figures like Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert, comedian Chrissie Mayr, and broadcasters Megyn Kelly and Tomi Lahren. Target’s stock value has dropped in the aftermath.

On Tuesday, Target’s shares were down by 3.13 percent to $147.16, as shown by Google Finance’s data. MarketWatch reported that Target was underperforming compared to its competitors, with Amazon‘s shares falling by 0.02 percent, Walmart was down by 0.19 percent and Costco shed 1.42 percent.

It was Target’s fourth consecutive day of losses, according to MarketWatch. On Tuesday, the company closed $36.73 below its 52-week high of $183.89 reached on August 16, 2022.

Other companies have recently been targeted by conservative backlashes after taking a stance in favor of trans rights and trans visibility, including Nike, Adidas, and Bud Light.

Bud Light was subject to a massive boycott by many customers angered by the brand’s decision to offer a paid sponsorship deal to trans activist and influencer Dylan Mulvaney in March. The following month, sales for Bud Light declined more than 17 percent.

Newsweek has contacted Target’s press team for comment by email.

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