Target boycott: Shining example of the power of the purse

Backlash over Target’s bathroom policy is costing the retailer more than anyone expected.


4/6/17 – (Business Insider) The boycott cost the company millions in lost sales and added expenses. Shopper traffic and same-store sales started sliding for the first time in years after the blog post, and the company was forced to spend $20 million installing single-occupancy bathrooms in all its stores to give critics of the policy more privacy.

Sales fell nearly 6% in the three quarters after the post compared with the same period last year, and same-store sales have dropped every quarter since the post.

“We took a stance, and we are going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion,” [Target CEO] Cornell said in an interview with CNBC in May.

Big mistake.

In the past, even the most widespread calls for company boycotts have tended to blow over within a matter of weeks or months.

Chick-fil-A, for example, faced a nationwide boycott in 2012 after Dan Cathy, the son of Chick-fil-A’s founder, S. Truett Cathy, set off a fury among supporters of equal rights for gay people when he told Baptist Press that the company was “guilty as charged” for backing “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Reports then emerged detailing Chick-fil-A’s many charitable donations to organizations opposed to same-sex marriage.

Despite the backlash, Chick-fil-A’s sales increased 14% in 2012.


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