Target's sales have taken a hit following backlash against its Pride Month collection earlier this year, the company disclosed on Wednesday.
According to its second quarter earnings report, Target's quarterly sales decreased for the first time in six years, dropping 5.4% in the second quarter, which ended on July 29, compared to the same period last year. Online sales saw a sharper decline of 10.5%. The company also reported a decrease in the number of transactions and the average transaction amount. Target's total revenue came in at $24.8 billion, a 4.9% decrease compared to last year, the Daily Wire reported.
In May, Target launched its "Pride" collection, which included a children's swimsuit labeled as suitable for "multiple body types and gender expressions," as well as LGBT-themed children's books like "The Pronoun Book" and "Bye Bye Binary."
The collection for adults included swimsuits designed for male-to-female transgender individuals, a t-shirt emblazoned with the word "Queer" four times, and a hoodie with the phrase "Not A Phase." The merchandise prompted calls for a boycott on social media.
Target responded by removing some of the "Pride" items following backlash that posed a risk to employee safety and moving the displays to the back of certain stores. "We are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior," Target spokeswoman Kayla Castañeda stated in late May.
Adding to the controversy was the revelation that a designer of some of the "Pride" collection had also produced items featuring Satanic imagery. As a result of the backlash and calls for a boycott, Target's stock price fell by nearly 20% and has yet to recover.
"Sales were impacted by the strong reaction to this year's Pride assortment," Target's chief growth officer, Christina Hennington, said on Wednesday. "The reaction is a signal for us to pause, adapt, and learn," she added.
Target plans to make changes to next year's "Pride" collection, potentially altering the timing of the products, their placement in stores, and the brands on offer. Despite the disappointing sales figures, Target's latest earnings report indicated higher profit margins than anticipated due to fewer discounts and reduced inventory costs.
Other companies also faced backlash over their "Pride" merchandise. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light's parent company, lost approximately $395 million in U.S. sales following a boycott over its partnership with trans-identifying influencer Dylan Mulvaney. As a result, Bud Light was replaced by Modelo as the nation's top-selling beer.