Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms
MINNEAPOLIS, August 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Facing a rapidly falling stock price and decreased earnings, Target announced on Tuesday that it will spend $20 million to add single-stall, lockable restrooms to every Target store in the nation.
At the same time, a spokeswoman says the company remains “committed” to its controversial policy allowing anyone who says he identifies as transgender to use the restrooms and changing rooms of the opposite biological sex.
All but about 300 of its 1,797 already have single-stall restrooms. The bathrooms will be installed in all but 20 stores by November, and all Target locations nationwide will feature the more private restrooms by next March.
“It’s clear that some of our guests like and some dislike our inclusive bathroom policy,” said Target chief financial officer Cathy Smith during a conference call on Wednesday. "Some of our guests clearly are uncomfortable with our policy.”
Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan said the policy had been enacted “some time prior to the shareholders meeting” in June.
She said the move is proof of its broad-minded outlook. "At the end of the day, Target is all about inclusion,” and the store overhaul is proof that “we are listening,” she said.
Sales and earnings fall after boycott
The Minneapolis-based retailer has long allowed customers to use the private facilities of the gender with which they identify. But the corporation doubled down by trumpeting the policy in a blog post in April, as the federal controversy over transgender restroom use began percolating.
Family advocates warned that sexual predators would exploit the policy to gain access to women and young girls.
LifeSiteNews launched a #FlushTarget campaign, in partnership with the Child Protection League. An online video of the potential harm the policy could inflict on innocent children garnered more than one million combined views on Facebook and Yahoo.
A #FlushTarget truck also visited all 72 stores in the department chain's home state of Minnesota.
The campaign ran into some opposition, as every billboard company in the state refused to post LifeSiteNews' message, depicting a man standing in front of a frightened girl.
Ultimately, the campaign erected six billboards in Oklahoma.
AFA President Tim Wildmon said this move does not change the danger females face in their own restrooms. “We still believe Target doesn't value the safety of families, because they’ve refused to reverse this dangerous policy,” he said.
Target’s announced renovations coincide with a stark economic report, which was also released on Wednesday. Target stock has fallen 9.7 percent in the last quarter. Second quarter sales were down $1.2 billion compared to the same time last year.
“Target made a conscious marketing decision to appeal to 0.003 percent of the population at the risk of alienating 99.9 percent of the population,” Dan Celia of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, who broadcasts on AFA’s radio network, AFR Talk.
Smith said the boycott played no significant role in the sales drop, according to CNN Money. But, she added, “We are not satisfied with our second quarter traffic and sales performance.”
An AFA spokesman says he is “confident that our boycott has played a significant role” in the company’s cratering profits.
AFA plans to continue its boycott, he said.