Target’s Sales Crumble For The First Time In Years Amid Backlash Over LGBT Kid Merchandise

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Will Kessler Contributor
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Target reported Wednesday that it was lowering its sales and profit expectations for the rest of the year, with the company having faced conservative backlash earlier in the quarter over the release of LGBT products for kids, according to Target’s second quarter earnings report.

Target lowered its sales and profit expectations for the rest of the year after its quarterly sales fell for the first time in six years, according to the earnings report. The decrease in expectations follows backlash from conservatives after the company announced a Pride Month collection in May that included LGBT merchandise marketed to kids. (RELATED: Target Reverses Course, Will Now Sell Book Critical Of Democrats)

“We continue to take a cautious approach to planning our business, and have therefore adjusted our financial guidance in anticipation of continued near-term challenges on the topline,” Brian Cornell, chair and chief executive of Target, said in the earnings report. “This approach, along with the long-term investments we’re making in our business and strategy, position us to deliver sustainable, profitable growth in the years ahead.”

“We anticipated some of the headwinds at play throughout the second quarter, including the continued pullback in discretionary spending,” Christina Hennington, chief growth officer for Target, said in an earnings conference call. “Other headwinds were incremental, including the strong reaction to this year’s pride assortment.”

Following the initial backlash and claims of threats by Target, the retailer removed some of the LGBT-themed items from stores. Prior to the backlash, the company carried over 2,000 products in its collection for Pride Month, including books, home furnishings and clothing for both kids and adults.

“Our team continues to face an unacceptable amount of retail theft and organized retail crime,” John Hulbert, vice president and head of investor relations, said in the earnings conference call. “During the first five months of this year, our stores saw a 120% increase in theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence.”

Inventory for the retailer at the end of the second quarter was 17% lower year-over-year due to a 25% reduction in categories considered discretionary, according to the earnings report. Total revenue for the quarter was 4.9% lower than last year, with the company reporting $24.8 billion for the quarter.

A shareholder lawsuit was filed in early August through America First Legal, suing the company and its board of directors for allegedly misleading investors and costing them billions. The suit takes aim at Target’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Environment, Social and Governance policies, saying that they do not benefit shareholders and ignore previous trends related to conservative backlash.

Target did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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