Battered by boycott and backlash, Target will not sell Pride collection in all stores

Battered by boycott and backlash, Target will not sell Pride collection in all stores


Target will no longer sell its Pride Month collection in all stores after conservative blowback over LGBTQ+ themed merchandise, including bathing suits designed for transgender people, harmed sales. 

The retailer told USA TODAY the collection will be available on its website and in “select stores” depending on “historical sales performance.”

Target – which has a decade-long track record of featuring LGBTQ+ merchandise during Pride Month – was one of the corporations assailed for “rainbow capitalism” last June during Pride Month. 

Conservative activists organized boycotts and some threatened Target employees over LGBTQ+ displays in stores, prompting the chain to pull some of the Pride merchandise. 

Advocacy groups condemned Target for bowing to pressure.

Target said that this year it will carry adult apparel, home products, and food and beverages in its Pride collection that it has curated “based on guest insights and consumer research.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that this year’s Pride collection is smaller.

The Pride merchandise will be sold in half of Target’s nearly 2,000 stores, Bloomberg reported. Usually, Target sells the collection in all of its stores.

Target said in a statement to USA TODAY that it remains committed to “supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round.”

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said Target’s decision “is disappointing and alienates LGBTQ+ individuals and allies at the risk of not only their bottom line but also their values.”

“Pride merchandise means something. LGBTQ+ people are in every ZIP code in this country, and we aren’t going anywhere,” Robinson said in a statement.

More than 120,000 people have signed a MoveOn petition since last year urging the chain to restore the Pride collection to all locations.

“It’s time for Target to stop caving to right-wing radicals and honor its commitments to the LGBTQ+ community,” MoveOn campaign director Jensine Gomez said in a statement.

The Target boycott contributed to lower overall sales, Target executives said in earnings calls last year.

“The reaction is a signal for us to pause, adapt and learn so that our future approach to these moments balances celebration, inclusivity and broad-based appeal,” Christina Hennington, Target’s chief growth officer, told analysts in August. 

Related Articles