Target’s reputation takes a hit after Pride 2023 collection
Target’s reputation with US shoppers has taken a hit this year as the ‘cheap-chic’ retail chain launches a controversial ‘PRIDE’ clothing collection that includes ‘tuck-friendly’ swimwear and LGBTQ gear. for babies and children, according to a survey.
The Minneapolis-based discounter took 53rd place in the 2023 Axios Harris Poll 100 Business Reputation Rankings released Tuesday – the same day the chain pulled some of its Pride products from store shelves after their pro-LGBTQ messages caused violent outbursts among customers.
Target’s rating — referred to in the poll as its reputation quotient, or RQ — landed it in 53rd place, a drop of 21 places from its No. 32 ranking in 2022.
Target’s fall was the second biggest on the list behind Disney, while Chrysler had the third biggest fall.
Of the nine categories used to determine QR’s overall score, Target did the worst in “culture,” defined as a company “good to work for,” coming in 65th with a score of 74.
And the retailer’s “vision” score – determined based on the company’s “clear vision for the future” – fell 24 places from 2022.
Target also took a hit in “citizenship,” defined as a company that “shares my values” and “supports good causes,” dropping to 35th from 19th place last year.
Target’s lowest-rated category in 2022, meanwhile, was “products and services,” defined as a company that “develops innovative products and services” and “delivers high-quality products and services.”
It ranks 39th in the “products and services” category in 2022 with a score of 78.7.
Target didn’t manage to score that high in any of the nine categories in 2023.
Around 16,000 survey participants were interviewed between March 13 and March 28, ranking the country’s “most visible” brands based on nine criteria, including trajectory, culture, ethics, growth, products and services, etc
The investigation was not more specific on the reasons for the drop in ratings of Target.
The retailer has been repeatedly called out around this time every year for participating in “rainbow capitalism,” which describes profiting from the commodification of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly around Pride month in June.
In 2021, Target’s Pride collection was criticized for being “ugly” and out of touch.
For Pride Month 2022, Target enlisted a team of seven LGBTQ+ artists to design its collection. Pieces included genderless underwear and swimwear.
There were also chest binders — a gender-affirming undergarment often used by transgender and non-binary people to flatten their chests — and pack boxers, which are made with an extra pocket for a gender-affirming prosthesis. .
Although LGBTQ customers seemed pleased with the Pride 2022 line, they still expressed disappointment that inclusive apparel was only available during Pride celebrations.
In 2023, Target is under fire for its Pride collection – again.
This time, rainbow clothes for babies and kids, as well as women’s swimwear with “extra crotch coverage,” caused violent outbursts, leading the chain to pull some of the clothes suitable for kids. LGBTQ of its stores.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we have experienced threats affecting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being at work,” a Target spokesperson said. “Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing elements that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behaviors.”
Target declined to confirm which items from its Pride collection would be removed.
Reviewers have slammed Target for offering “tuck-friendly” women’s swimwear that allows trans women who haven’t had gender-affirming surgeries to conceal their private parts.
A spokesperson confirmed to The Associated Press that these swimsuits were only offered in adult sizes.
Elsewhere in the adult section, customers were also upset to find sweatshirts and tote bags with messages such as “live laugh lesbian”, “cure transphobia not trans people”, “too queer for here” and “we belong everywhere”.
The graphic t-shirts were made by London-based clothing company Abprallen, which is run by a transgender man known as ‘Erik’ and also sells clothing featuring satanic imagery, such as pentagrams, skulls with horns and references to the devil.
There were plenty of LGBTQ products in Target’s children’s section that also outraged conservative shoppers, including t-shirts that read “Pride Adult Drag Queen ‘Katya'”, “Trans people will always exist!” and “Girls Gays Theys”.
Target CEO Brian Cornell dismissed outcry over the retailer’s new lineup, saying the products are good for business and “the right thing for society”.
The comments were made during Fortune’s “Leadership Next” podcast.
The executive, whose company employs more than 450,000 workers in more than 1,900 locations nationwide, added that the company’s strategy is to cater to a diverse customer base.