Retail giant Target recently announced that it anticipates a $500 million increase in retail theft in the coming year, creating another problem as the brand faces growing calls for a boycott of its products.
Last year, Target lost $763 million in goods to theft, meaning that the company could see as much as a $1 billion loss from stolen goods.
CEO Brian Cornell explained in Target’s earning call for the first quarter that stealing was “a worsening trend that emerged last year.”
“The problem affects all of us, limiting product availability, creating a less convenient shopping experience, and putting our team and guests in harm’s way,” Cornell said, according to CNBC.
“The unfortunate fact is violent incidents are increasing at our stores and across the entire retail industry,” Cornell said.
Compounding the issue are the growing calls for boycotts of the retail giant following the release of its controversial line of LGBTQ-themed clothes, which included items marketed to children, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Many of the products have been poorly received, with one baby onesie garnering overwhelmingly negative reviews. Some 65% of reviews for another item, a shirt for toddlers that reads “It Takes All Kinds,” gave the product one out of five stars.
Some of the LGBTQ children’s books Target is selling include titles such as Bye Bye, Binary, The Pronoun Book, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, ‘Twas the Night Before Pride, If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It, and Fred Gets Dressed, which depicts a naked child on the cover.
A video taken from inside a Target also showed that some LGBTQ swimwear was labeled “Tuck-Friendly Construction,” suggesting the product was designed to hide “the crotch bulge of the penis and testicles so that they are not conspicuous through clothing.”
Comparing Target’s LGBTQ-themed offerings to other recent “woke” corporate marketing schemes, conservative political commentator Matt Walsh tweeted, “What @Target is doing is far worse than anything Bud Light did.”
“They are selling chest binders & ‘tuck-friendly’ bathing suits for children. Target is calling our bluff,” Walsh claimed. “But just like any other company, they need our business.”
“We did it with Bud Light. Now it’s Target’s turn,” Walsh said.
The Texas branch of the activist group Gays Against Groomers retweeted Walsh’s boycott call, claiming, “Yes, the @Target corporation is run by groomers!”
Still, some groups have denounced such boycott calls, claiming they endanger LGBTQ youth.
Activist group Rainbow Youth Project USA said, “Over the past few months we’ve received reports of young people being harassed and verbally assaulted for looking at items in Pride sections of stores like Target. Be aware – Gays Against Groomers says Target is grooming children with Pride clothing.”
Target’s first-quarter earnings exceeded its forecast, with the company raking in $30,000,000 more than expected despite stagnating sales, according to CNBC, so any boycott would have an uphill climb to have a noticeable impact on the corporation’s bottom line.