As retailer Target sees its stock plummeting and sales dropping in the midst of a boycott over its recently announced pro-transgender bathroom policy, the company’s CEO is insisting the weather is the cause of falling sales, not the company’s bathroom policy.
In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Target CEO Brian Cornell pegged the downturn in the company’s fortunes to the cold weather as opposed to anything the company itself is doing or not doing.
“It’s been a very wet and cold start to the year and it’s reflected in our sales,” Cornell told the paper. “We haven’t seen anything from a structural standpoint that gives us pause.”
In other words, the weather is responsible for the downturn, not Target’s “structural” transgender bathroom policy.
Indeed, a month after the initial announcement, the Target CEO came out to double down on the transgender agenda, so it appears the company is digging in heels instead of looking for ways at appeal to customers.
Still, Cornell’s weather assessment does not quite tally with other reports stating Target has taken a major hit since it announced its transgender policy.
Granted, most retailers have been down over the first quarter and the start of the second quarter this year. But Target has been on a downward trend exceeding the fall of its competitors. In the months prior to the bathroom policy announcement, 42 percent of consumers said they would shop at the department store chain. But in the month following the bathroom policy announcement, the number dropped to 36 percent.
The reports also found that consumer perception of the Target brand is at its lowest in two years.
Blaming the bad weather and the typical low first quarter sales simply doesn’t wash, when you consider that Target made their bathroom policy announcement in mid-April. By then the weather is warming up and shoppers are bouncing back after the Christmas holidays. That means in as few as 3o days, Target has lost nearly $6 billion in stock values.
Brian Cornell and the other CEOs at Target, who are so stuck in denial of facts, are also ignoring the domino effect of the petition that approximately 1.2 million people signed. When Mom signs the petition then tells Dad her feelings toward the store’s policy, he’s not going there either. Multiply that out, then add in the other family members of the same opinion and it’s easy to see that Target’s sales are affected by a lot more than just the people who signed it.
It’s hard to say how long Target’s exceedingly stubborn management will continue to dig in their heels, but I’d expect their stockholders will have something to say about it, and probably fairly soon.