Target Transgender Bathroom Boycott Is Costing Company Big, But Retailer Is Making Changes

The Target transgender bathroom policy that resulted in a massive boycott is believed to be the reason for the retailer losing more money than anyone thought it would. AOL News reported that the second quarter reports showed profits were plummeting.

In April, Target announced that transgender customers were permitted to use any bathroom or fitting room of the gender they identified with. The store’s decision ignited an adverse reaction that resulted in a large number of consumers refusing to shop at Target.

According to the report, transactions fell 2.2 percent in the second quarter. Overall sales plunged from 7.2 percent to $16.2 billion.

Target CEO Brian Cornell said last week during a call with analysts that the number one challenge with the second quarter was traffic. He explained that it directly impacted sales in all of the merchandise categories.

Target’s CFO, Cathy Smith, voiced that the drop in traffic performance was radically different from the prior quarter. She wanted to “make it clear that we are not satisfied with our second quarter traffic and sales performance.”

As the report notes, other boycotts against retailers have blown over within a matter of weeks or months. Target’s transgender bathroom policy denotes a more protracted boycott among customers.

So, what’s Target’s plan of action over its dismal picture of sinking profits? According to Forbes magazine, the retailer is spending millions to add private single-stalled bathrooms at several of its stores. It’s an attempt at gaining back shopper traffic and appealing to critics of the transgender bathroom policy.

When Target’s transgender policy was unveiled, it received instant backlash. 1.4 million consumers joined the American Family Association’s nationwide boycott following the announcement.

Target is spending up to $20 million to include private bathrooms that can be locked.

“It’s clear that some of our guests like and some dislike our inclusive bathroom policy,” Smith said at a media briefing.

Many of the single-stalled bathrooms have been added, but more are expected to be done by November. The goal is to have this complete before the holiday shopping season gets underway. Even more bathrooms are slated to be added by March.

There is a debate that it might not just be the transgender bathroom policy that’s responsible for the retailer’s declining profits. Cornell didn’t mention the boycott over the transgender bathroom policy as the primary issue when he talked with Fortune magazine.

“To date we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business,” he said. “Just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted.”

The AFA sees a direct correlation to Target’s problematic quarterly report, Fox News reports. AFA president Tim Wildmon issued a written statement regarding Target’s gloomy sales numbers.

“After seeing Target’s latest earnings report, the retailer can’t afford to have millions of families shopping with their competitors,” he wrote. “The privacy and protection of women and children is important and that is why we will continue to stand against Target for its reckless policy.”

Forbes expounded on other factors that might have led to Target losing business. Aside from the company’s transgender bathroom stance, its pharmacy was making a transition after being sold to CVS Health. Target was also hit with a 20 percent drop in Apple products and was not able to lure customers to buy the chain’s fresh groceries.

The AFA isn’t backing down on its boycott just because Target is adding single-stalled locking bathrooms. The group believes the bathroom will still endanger women and children. Wildmon said the fact that Target isn’t reversing its policy on transgender bathrooms connotes that the retailer doesn’t value family safety. He clarified that it’s not the transgender community that poses a threat, but voyeurs and sexual predators who have easier access to their victims by allowing men in women’s bathrooms and potentially put women and girls in danger.

Wildmon said the boycott would remain in place “until Target agrees that protecting the safety and privacy of women and children is of paramount concern.”

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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