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Target pushes ahead with woke holiday merch despite financial losses

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

Target’s second-quarter earnings report proved the company still hasn’t rebounded from its Pride fallout this summer, showing a 5.4% decrease in sales — the first drop in roughly six years.

The company’s third-quarter report was no better, revealing an additional 4.9% drop. Thanks to Target’s partnership with a satanist designer and its highly controversial Pride line — which pushed transgender extremism on an audience largely of children — the backlash continues to hurt the stores’ bottom line. 

Brian Cornell, Target’s CEO, reflected on the reports and admitted sales “have clearly been tougher than we expected this year, and we are firmly focused on getting back to growth.” While Cornell confessed the company has struggled, one would expect the mega-retailer to learn from its mistakes, readjust to what their clientele wants, and get back to selling products, not politics.

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Well, Target clearly hasn’t learned its lesson. Rather than pivoting after the backlash, the boycotts, and plummeting sales, it has decided to continue swimming upstream. To most people’s surprise, Target has leaned into the very agenda that caused its demise, hiring a “Senior LGBTQIA+ Segmentation Strategist and Pride Lead,” whose very job is to woke-ify the aisles. With summer behind us, tucking swimsuits are clearly out of season. So, naturally, with Christmas around the corner, Pride ornaments are next on the agenda! Never mind the fact that this strategy completely failed in June. So much for Cornell saying he is “firmly focused on getting back to growth.”

Part of Target’s LGBT Christmas line includes things like a nutcracker holding a Progress Pride Flag and wearing a Pride hat. It’s advertised with the slogan, “Show your love and support for the LGBTQIA+ community.” Like a blast from the past, these items were met with immediate mockery. “Wow. Just wow,” Brian Frye posted on X. “You would think they would have learned from the last time. When will companies finally start to realize it? Go woke … go broke!”

But before Target gets all the heat, it’s only fair to highlight the other companies who’ve tried the same extremism and failed. Ever since Bud Light partnered with transgender-identifying Dylan Mulvaney, Anheuser-Busch’s revenue is down 13.5% according to a report from earlier this month. According to The Post Millennial, “Bud Light lost some $390 million in the marketing disaster, and $6 billion in lost value.” And recent reports revealed the beer company, after saying otherwise, did, in fact, pay Mulvaney $185,000 for the campaign — only for it to destroy their brand and drive consumers away.

However, where Target and Bud Light differ is that Benoit Garbe, the U.S. chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch, has decided to step down at the end of the year. Unlike Target’s high-ranking officials, Garbe seemed to know when to quit. But with new leadership in place, the question remains: did they learn from the past? I suppose only time will tell.

In the meantime, there are alternative stores to shop from for everything from ornaments to beer, many of which have conservative and/or Christian values.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at the Family Research Council, said it’s especially important we avoid shopping at places like Target during Christmas. She commented to The Washington Stand, “Target selling sexually themed Christmas ornaments is more evidence that we live in a post-Christian society. The virgin birth of the Savior of the world in a stable in Bethlehem is what we celebrate. The goodness, truth, and beauty of that reality are not improved or enhanced by woke merchandising campaigns.”

“If Americans (and especially people of faith) have some money left to spend at Christmas this year,” Kilgannon urged, “I hope they don’t spend it at Target.”

Originally published at The Washington Stand. 

Sarah Holliday serves as a reporter for The Washington Stand. She earned her undergrad from Boise State University in Creative Writing and Narrative Arts, as well as a Certificate in Arts and Theology from Reformation Bible College.

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