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After Backlash, Target Will Only Sell Pride Merchandise in Select Stores This Year

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Target is only stocking Pride Month merchandise in select stores this year, a move that follows a wave of backlash over its 2023 collection.

In a Thursday statement, the big-box retailer said it will offer a Pride collection of adult apparel, home and food and beverage items “based on consumer feedback” that will be available “in select stores, based on historical sales performance” and on Target.com.

According to a Bloomberg report, Target’s Pride merchandise will be available in about half of its 2,000 U.S. stores this year. Target said it will also participate in local Pride events in Minneapolis, where the company is based. Its employee Pride group will also host events internally, it said.

“Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” the company told FN in a statement. “Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target. We have long offered benefits and resources for the community, and we will have internal programs to celebrate Pride 2024.”

Last year, the big box retailer altered its Pride 2023 collection’s displays and availability after it faced blowback from consumers online and in stores, which included some people knocking over displays and directing anger at employees. According to reports, some stores even received bomb threats.

At the time, Target chief executive officer Brian Cornell said the company’s top priority was the safety of its team and noted that Target will “continue to support these moments in the future” as it helps it to serve a “diverse set” of guests. The Pride backlash was one of several headwinds that impacted the retailer’s results in Q2 last year.

Target’s Pride line arrived during a moment of intense national backlash towards the LGBTQIA+ community last year, particularly the transgender community. Notable incidents include the online controversy over Kate Spade New York and Bud Light’s campaigns starring transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, as well as a record number of over 400 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills presented to state legislatures.

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