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Target pulls LGBTQ+ merchandise from half of its stores

Target pulls LGBTQ+ merchandise from half of its stores


Target is cutting back on the number of its stores that will cary Pride Month-related merchandise in June, a decision that comes after the retail chain last year faced a backlash and threats over some of the products. 

Target said in a statement that its Pride merchandise will be available next month “in select stores, based on historical sales performance.” A spokeswoman declined to disclose the number of stores that won’t be carrying the merchandise. But a full assortment will be offered online, Target said.

In prior years, Target had typically sold the full Pride assortment across its 2,000 stores, but the decision to pare back comes after the retailer faced criticism last year over some of the collection’s swimsuits. Some people made claims that the swimwear, labeled as “tuck-friendly” with “extra crotch coverage,” was sold for children, although swimsuits with these labels were only available in adult sizes. 

The decision to cut back on Pride merchandise availability, first reported by Bloomberg, also comes after some customers last year confronted workers and tipped over displays. Target also moved Pride displays to the back of its stores in certain Southern locations last year.

Target’s latest moves are just another example of how companies are grappling with catering to different groups of customers at a time of extreme cultural divides, particularly around transgender rights. Last year, Bud Light’s sales plunged after customers were angered by its attempt to broaden its customer base by partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Target said the stores chosen to carry the Pride merchandise this year will be based on “guest insights and consumer research.”

Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” Target added. “Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target.”

This year’s Pride merchandise will include adult clothing, home products and food and beverages, with the items starting at $3, Target said.

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

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