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Target quarterly report reveals drop in sales amid backlash to LGBT products

A Target department store on May 17, 2023, in North Miami Beach, Florida.
A Target department store on May 17, 2023, in North Miami Beach, Florida. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Major retail chain Target has reported a decline in quarterly sales for the first time in six years as the company faced backlash after promoting LGBT related products during pride month. 

Target, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, released its second-quarter earnings report Wednesday, which details the company's sales for the three-month period that ended on July 29. The data included in the report compares the retailer's financial situation this year to the revenue it brought in at the same time last year. 

In the three-month period ending on July 29, 2023, Target amassed a total of $24,384,000 in sales. In the three-month period ending on July 30, 2022, Target sold $25,653,000 in goods. The company's sales in the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 amount to a 4.9% drop compared to its earnings from the same time period in fiscal year 2022. 

Target brought in $49,332,000 in sales during the six-month period ending on July 29, 2023. In the six-month period that concluded on July 30, 2022, Target sold $50,483,000 in merchandise. The company witnessed a 2.3% decrease in sales in the first six months of fiscal year 2023 compared to the first six months of fiscal year 2022.

"Given recent sales trends, the Company lowered its full-year sales and profit expectations," the earnings report stated. "The Company now expects comparable sales in a wide range around a mid-single digit decline for the remainder of the year."

While acknowledging the decline in sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 and the likelihood that the drop in revenue will continue for the foreseeable future, Target Corporation Chief Executive Brian Cornell maintains full confidence in his company.

"Our second quarter financial results clearly demonstrate the agility of our team and the resilience of our business model, as we saw better-than-expected profitability in the face of softer-than-expected sales."

"With the benefit of a much-leaner inventory position than a year ago, the team was able to quickly respond to rapidly-changing topline trends throughout the second quarter, while continuing to focus on the guest experience," he added. "We continue to take a cautious approach to planning our business, and have therefore adjusted our financial guidance in anticipation of continued near-term challenges on the topline."

Target's second-quarter earnings report comes as the company faced boycott calls in recent months after promoting LGBT-related merchandise. Specifically, the retailer came under fire earlier this year for selling "tuck-friendly" swimsuits, women's swimsuits designed to enable trans-identified biological men who wear them to hide their genitalia more easily. 

The company's embrace of LGBT-related merchandise produced by a company known for making products with satanic imagery led to calls for boycotts from conservative activists. Target lost billions in market value, and the corporation's shares decreased by more than 25% over the past year. 

In response to the declining sales, the company pointed to declines in "discretionary" merchandise, which comprised a large percentage of Target's inventory. Discretionary products include non-essential items such as clothing, home decor, electronics, toys and party supplies. The company reports "continued growth in frequency businesses (Essentials & Beauty and Food & Beverage)."

"Inventory at the end of Q2 was 17 percent lower than last year, reflecting a 25 percent reduction in discretionary categories, partially offset by inventory investments to support frequency categories, and strategic investments to support long-term market-share opportunities," the report noted. 

Walmart, one of Target's major competitors, witnessed an uptick in sales as its rival struggled.

In its second-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, Walmart recorded $110.9 billion in net sales during the second quarter of fiscal year 2024 at its U.S. stores. This marked a 5.4% increase from the $105.1 billion in net sales the company amassed during the second quarter of fiscal year 2023.

The report indicated that Walmart's "sales strength" came from "grocery and health & wellness, while general merchandise sales declined modestly."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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