Target, a well-known retail giant once favored by suburban mothers across the nation, has recently faced a severe setback in the stock market. This comes as a result of growing consumer dissent over a number of issues, most notably a “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuit and a Pride collection developed by a designer with alleged ties to Satanism.
In a sharp and rather unsettling turn of events, the retail company has seen a $9 billion slash in its market capitalization. This monetary nosedive is a direct consequence of the backlash over the mentioned products that some consumers view as overly progressive or controversial.
So, how severe was this stock market correction? In just seven days, Target’s stock price dropped from $160.96 to a meager $141.76. The New York Post highlighted that the corporation’s market capitalization took a hit in the weeks following the boycott fiasco, sliding from an impressive $74.3 billion to a disappointing $65.3 billion. This equates to a whopping $9 billion loss for the company, a significant 12% decline. But the damage didn’t stop there. Target’s trials worsened, culminating in an approximately $15 billion drop in market capitalization.
The Daily Wire covered the uproar surrounding the designer associated with Satanism and the contentious Pride collection that he produced. The collection by Abrallen included assertive slogans such as “We Belong Everywhere,” “Too Queer For Here” emblazoned on a tote bag, and a sweatshirt that boldly proclaimed “Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People.” It was, however, Abrallen’s other products that fueled the controversy. While not directly sold by Target, these additional products by the same designer had a distinctly Satanist theme, featuring phrases such as “Satan Respects Pronouns” and “Trans Witches For Abortion.” The partnership with such a brand, naturally, drew the ire of the public.
Abrallen’s website offers a unique perspective on Satanism. The site clarifies that Satanists do not genuinely believe in Satan. Instead, Satan serves as a symbol of passion, pride, liberty, hope, compassion, equality, and love. This unusual interpretation of Satan did little to assuage the concerns of disgruntled consumers, further fueling the outrage.
The aforementioned “tuck-friendly” swimsuit, catering to the transgender community, was another source of contention and a trigger for the Target controversy. The item, and the controversy it spurred, led some conservatives to hope that Target would face a similar fate to Bud Light, which also weathered a recent scandal due to a marketing misstep.
With the plunge in Target’s market cap, there are questions about whether the boycott will significantly impact the company’s sales or whether the corporation can shrug off this issue, as several other brands accused of ‘wokeness’ have managed to do in the past.
However, some signs suggest that the antagonism towards Target may persist. Oli London, author of “Gender Madness” and a frequent commentator on such controversies, had strong words about the swimsuit and its implications. London criticized Target’s decision to promote gender ideology and alienate its consumer base, pointing out the minute percentage of the population identifying as transgender and questioning the need for such specific products.
In the wake of this turmoil, Target’s journey ahead appears challenging. The corporation is grappling with a societal and commercial conundrum: finding a balance between inclusivity and profitability, while also maintaining its diverse consumer base.
The current backlash serves as a testament to the delicate and often precarious relationship between corporate actions and consumer sentiment, a dance that demands careful navigation and strategic planning. This chapter in Target’s story underscores the volatile and complex interaction between business and societal norms in an ever-evolving landscape.