May 23, 2023 | 11:34 am
The senior Target executive dismissed the social media uproar over the retailer’s new line of LGBTQ children’s clothing, saying marketing the products is good for business and “the right thing for society.”
Outraged shoppers posted videos and images on social media showing swimsuits with “extra crotch coverage” as well as rainbow-colored onesies for infants and children.
Other offerings that have garnered conservative reactions include t-shirts that read “Pride Adult Drag Queen ‘Katya'”, “Trans people will always exist!” and “Girls Gays Theys”.
On Fortune’s ‘Leadership Next’ podcast last week, Target CEO Brian Cornell was asked about the backlash of ‘woke’ capitalism, which has also engulfed iconic beer brand Bud Light as well as the entertainment giant Disney.
“I think these are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for the company, and it’s the right thing for our brand,” Cornell said.
The executive, whose company employs more than 450,000 workers at more than 1,900 locations nationwide, said the company’s strategy was to cater to a diverse customer base.
“The things that we’ve done from a DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) perspective, that adds value,” Cornell said.
“It helps us drive sales, build engagement with our teams and customers, and it’s exactly the right things for our business today.”
A company spokesperson told The Associated Press that the “tuck-friendly” swimwear only comes in adult sizes and the kids’ collection does not carry the tag.
“When we think about the goal at Target, it’s really about helping all families, and that word ‘everything’ is really important,” Cornell said.
“Most American stores at Target, so we want to do what it takes to support families across the country.”
Target’s range of trans options, promoted on its website ahead of next month’s Pride Month, has sparked even more furor because it targets children.
Cornell added, “I know that a focus on diversity, inclusion and equity has fueled much of our growth over the past nine years.”
While Target appears to be sticking to its guns, Bud Light and parent company Anheuser-Busch are trying to make amends with disgruntled consumers who have been upset by the marketing partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
An Alabama-based Anheuser-Busch wholesale beer distributor paid for a radio ad in which it criticized the beer conglomerate.
The brand offers generous Memorial Day discounts that, in some cases, equal free beer.
Bud Light’s steep sales declines continued to deepen for the sixth straight week, plunging nearly 25% since the ill-fated promotion with Mulvaney, according to the latest industry data.