Targeted: CEO denies plunging sales caused by boycott over bathroom policy

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Target’s shares are plunging in an “increasingly volatile consumer environment,” though the retail giant is denying that the conservative boycott against its transgender bathroom policies is playing a big part.

Targeting Target.

Targeting Target.

“Shares of the company were off 7.6 percent at $68 as of 4 p.m. trading on Wednesday. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.2 percent in the quarter ended April 30, short of Target’s 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent annual target,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, noting that this is the first such decline in two years, since Brian Cornell took over as CEO. …

Cornell insisted on Wednesday that the over 1.2 million-strong boycott of Target over its new bathroom policies, organized by the American Family Association, is not playing a part in the decline. “You’ve heard us talk over the years about our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” Cornell told Forbes, which also reported on the declining shares.

Target’s CEO admitted that a few stores nationwide have indeed faced protests over the bathroom policy, which allows employees and customers who are men according to their birth sex to use women’s bathrooms, in a bid to be more inclusive. … “To date we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business. Just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted,” he said.

Reuters reported that Target’s net income fell to $632 million from $635 million a year earlier, with the retail giant expecting second-quarter comparable sales to be flat down to 2 percent, though it was confident it would meet its earnings outlook of $1 to $1.20 per share before special items.

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