- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2024

Target is limiting its distribution of LGBTQ-themed merchandise for Pride Month in June, after backlash last year dragged down the retailer’s stock price.

The Minneapolis-based company said it would sell online and in select stores “a collection of products including adult apparel and home and food and beverage items, curated based on consumer feedback.” The products will be chosen based on sales of previous Pride Month merchandise.

Target will also highlight LGBTQ-owned brands.

The company did not say which stores in which markets would sell Pride Month merchandise.

Among the items that drew opposition last year was a “tuck-friendly” women’s bathing suit with room for male genitals.

Between the initial anger at the swimsuit and other items, which led to a plunge in its share price and a $14 billion loss in its market value, and the anger from activists when Target relented, the fracas caused the retailer to suffer its first quarterly sales drop in six years.

On an earnings call, Target CEO Brian Cornell acknowledged the “negative guest reaction to our Pride assortment.”

“At Target, we know our business thrives when we create experiences that foster a sense of belonging. That’s why we support and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round. … complemented by the year-round resources and benefits we provide to our LGBTQIA+ team members,” Target said in a fact sheet on its website.

Activists are disappointed in Target’s stance.

“Pride merchandise means something. LGBTQ+ people are in every ZIP code in this country, and we aren’t going anywhere,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson told The Associated Press.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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