(trendingpoliticsnews) – Former Target Vice Chairman, Gerald Storch, appeared on “Fox & Friends Weekend” and shed light on the specific item that triggered the backlash and set Target apart from its competitors. Storch explained that while many retailers carry “Pride” merchandise, such as plates with various colors, it is generally accepted. However, he highlighted one item from Target’s pride collection that ignited the consumer firestorm. “I’ve never seen a case where one item, that tuck swimsuit, that’s really what made the difference versus the competitors. That’s where the big mistake [was] made,” the former Target executive told Fox News.
Drawing from his experience with controversy at Babies “R” Us, Storch shared a past incident where a contest prize was initially disputed due to the first baby of the year being born to an undocumented immigrant. Storch explained that by awarding the prize to two babies and issuing a press release emphasizing love for all babies, they successfully addressed the issue and resolved the controversy.
“We had a contest where the first baby of the year would get $20,000. You know, people were up in arms because guess what, the first baby the year was born to an undocumented immigrant and they didn’t have a tax I.D. or anything, and the people are, ‘oh, God, you can’t give it to them. You have to give it to them. Figure out a way.’
He continued, “You know what we did, we gave it to two babies and we put out a giant press release. We love all babies.” “At the end of the day, if you embrace and you show that to people and you know, I hear you every morning, you know this, too. That’s how you get a problem, is you have to address it as a real problem and show love for people and it works,” he added.
“Now going out of the problem, you have to show love. I know that sounds kind of funny, but, you know, forgiveness and love, that’s part of America and that’s what you have to do.”
Storch acknowledged that Target has also faced economic difficulties, with its stock experiencing a decline of 11% year to date. He attributed this decline to more fundamental concerns regarding the business, the consumer, and the challenging economic environment, including inflation. As an upscale discounter, Target is impacted by consumers’ financial constraints, leading them to gravitate towards retailers like Walmart, which has seen a seven percent gain in comp store sales.
As Target navigates through this challenging period, addressing the consumer backlash, fostering a message of inclusivity, and adapting to the evolving economic landscape will be crucial to rebuilding market confidence and restoring the company’s growth trajectory. The decline in Target’s stock began on May 18th, coinciding with Walmart’s positive sales report.
The comparison between the two companies’ performance does not favor Target, further exacerbating the market value decline. “Target’s decline in stock, — actually began on May 18th.” He explained, “that’s the day Walmart reported seven percent gain in comp store sales on the prior day. Target had reported flat sales, year flat at Target, up seven at Wal-Mart. There’s no way that comparison looks good.” Storch noted that consumers are feeling the strain of the current economic climate, leading them to be more cautious with their spending, which presents a significant challenge for Target as an upscale discounter.
“The consumer is feeling very stressed, very stressed by the environment, by inflation, and Target is known as the upscale discounter. So it’s not good to be the upscale discounter at a time when the consumer doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. So they’re migrating more to Wal-Mart, and that’s a huge problem.” Storch also remarked on the ongoing conservative “boycott” due to the company’s floundering “Pride” campaign.
“While there’s no doubt the boycott is part of the problem, if you read the reports about Target during this period and the analysts keep in mind related to the investors, who are the ones who are buying things about the stock or in this case probably selling picks amount of stock. They’re more concerned with the fundamental business issues.” Storch noted that Target’s investors are watching “very, very carefully” to see the impact on the company’s sales.
“You know, they [Target] certainly didn’t handle this well, either going in or trying to deal with it on the way out. But I think over time, this is not going to be a big issue for them,” he said.
In 2016, Target spent $20 million to install single-stall restrooms in all of its 1,800 locations after a consumer backlash. Target’s chief financial officer, Cathy Smith, acknowledged that the company’s bathroom policy had faced opposition from its customers. While most locations already had gender-segregated bathrooms, the $75-billion company faced criticism from socially conservative customers after a blog post in April that declared its opposition to sex-segregated facilities.
The company stated, “In our stores, we strive to create an inclusive experience in various ways. Specifically, we welcome transgender team members and guests to utilize the restroom or fitting room facility that aligns with their gender identity.”
Meanwhile, CNN is providing cover for Target in its latest controversy by pointing to broader economic factors, and not “far-right” citizens who are leading a “homophobic” campaign against the company. “If you follow right-wing media or Twitter, you may have seen a lot of coverage recently about Target’s stock price falling because of outrage over its Pride Month clothing,” Nathaniel Meyersohn opined. “It’s conceivable that some investors sold Target because of the negative coverage on Fox News and other right-wing outlets,” he added.
“But Target’s stock went on a nine-day losing streak and hit a three-year low this week because of broader changes in the US economy, the possibility of a recession, and Target’s over-exposure to discretionary merchandise, according to corporate executives and retail and investment analysts.” “Target faced a homophobic campaign that went viral on social media over its annual Pride Month clothing collection,” Meyersohn claimed. “Fueled by far-right personalities, including self-described ‘theocratic fascist’ Matt Walsh, and on social media platforms, the anti-LGBTQ campaign spread misleading information about the Pride Month products and Target’s business practices.” As the interview with Storch shows, however, it wasn’t the everyday “Pride” items for adults that led to a PR nightmare for Target, but the “tuck swimwear” that made all the difference.