Target can’t figure out why customers have left
Target Corp. cut its profit forecast and a key sales outlook Wednesday “as it saw fewer customers in its stores,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Net income for the first quarter was $680 million compared to $735 million a year ago, and shares fell six percent following its financial announcement.
Minneapolis-based Target operates approximately 1,800 stores in the United States, making it the second-largest retailer in the United States behind Wal-Mart.
Overall sales in 2015 topped $73.8 billion dollars, Target reported in March.
Yet the corporation is known for its support of homosexual activism, and in April the American Family Associated noticed when Target restated the company’s liberal restroom and changing room policy meant to please transgender customers and store employees.
AFA launched a boycott of Target days later, suggesting that the store policy – with no way to police who enters – was endangering women and girls by allowing men to enter restrooms with customers’ wives and daughters.
The boycott reached one million signers within a week and has since slowed its pace, growing to 1.4 million earlier this week.
Justin Danhof of the National Center for Public Policy Research says public criticism of Target’s policy has impacted the stores.
“I think that the company’s actions actually speak louder than the financial results,” Danhof tells OneNewsNow. “When their chief financial officer, in a call with financial and industry analysts, addresses the bathroom issue, you know there’s been an impact.”
Danhof is referring to Target’s plan to add private, single-stall “family” restrooms to its remaining stores that don’t have them, a plan that was mentioned in a conference call with Target executives that Danhof and others joined Wednesday.
Regarding public disapproval of its policy, the corporation’s CFO told the AP the backlash hasn’t had a “material” impact on store sales. Yet the announcement of adding family restrooms – only 400 stores don’t have them – came at the same time the financials were released earlier this week.
“When they’re seeing all of this happen right now, and the boycott has been going on for a few months,” Danhoff says, “and this quarter happens to be one of the worse they’ve had, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
In fact, Target’s supposed announcement of family restrooms is not new. It was mentioned in May when AFA representatives met with Target executives at corporate headquarters to ask the executives to reconsider the policy.
AFA officials suspect the announcement was likely timed to generate positive news from critics of the bathroom policy and deflect from the dismal financial news.
OneNewsNow has contacted Target on several occasions for comment and has not received a response.
American Family Association is the parent organization of American Family News, which includes news website OneNewsNow.