Chain store giant Target is responding to the ongoing boycott against its stores over its transgender bathroom policy, which allows customers who are men based on their birth sex to use women's bathrooms and dressing rooms, by announcing it will install single-toilet bathrooms.
CNNMoney reported on Wednesday that the company is planning to spend $20 million to expand its bathroom options at all of its U.S. stores, aimed at providing customers the option to use single-toilet bathrooms away from public facilities.
Target CFO Cathy Smith admitted on Wednesday that the company "has heard objections" to its transgender bathroom policy, but also insisted other customers had voiced support. In response, the retail giant said that the planned single-toilet bathrooms will be offered to any costumers who need privacy, including parents with small children.
Target spokeswoman Katie Boylan added, "We put that in motion for some time prior to the [June] shareholders meeting. At the end of the day, Target is all about inclusion. We want everyone to feel comfortable in our stores."
Boylan noted that out of 1,800 U.S. Target stores, all but 300 already have single occupancy bathrooms, and the vast majority of those should offer new bathrooms by the end of the year.
What Target perceives as a solution, however, doesn't address their policy of allowing men to go into women's dressing rooms and bathrooms.
Last month, a man named Sean Smith who identifies as a woman was charged with one felony count of video voyeurism for reportedly using his iPhone to record an 18-year-old girl undressing at an Idaho Target store.
The American Family Association has led the large-scale boycott against Target, gathering close to 1.4 million signatures in a petition urging Target to reverse its controversial bathroom policy.
The conservative group had warned that the policy "is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?" it asked.
It had further warned that Target's policy "poses a danger to wives and daughters."
Walker Wildmon, assistant to the AFA president, said that Target's latest move is not sufficient to fully protect customers.
"This doesn't completely answer our concerns," said Wildmon.
Target has been reporting dropping sales since the start of the boycott, with second-quarter net income falling nearly 10 percent. Financial expert Dan Celia with Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries claimed that the boycott played at least some part in that, despite denials by the company.
"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," Celia wrote, according to OneNewsNow.
"To say that this brilliant marketing strategy that led to the boycott had little impact on their numbers is naïve at best," he added.
While Smith suggested that "there is no evidence the boycott has had any significant effect on sales," Wildmon said that AFA's efforts have had a notable effect.
"We're confident that our boycott has played a significant role in Target's financial results that came out today," Wildmon insisted.