Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, appears to be paying a financial price for its embrace of liberal social issues.
In addition to a sharp drop in sales, Target is committing $20 million to add single-stall bathrooms at all of its stores that don’t currently have the option in response to the retailers announced policy earlier this year that transgender customers can use the bathrooms that match their gender identity, Fortune.com reported.
The policy prompted calls for a boycott from those concerned about safety and privacy issues — concerns that came to life when a Idaho man dressed as a woman and claiming to be transgender was arrested for voyeurism after taking photos of women in the changing room of a Target store.
The announcement of a drop in second-quarter earnings suggests the boycott is having an impact.
Citing “a difficult retail environment,” Target announced Wednesday that second-quarter earnings fell 9.7 percent to $680 million, according to USA Today.
“Sales were down 7.2 percent to $16.2 billion … [and] sales at stores open at least a year, a key metric for retailers, fell 1.1 percent,” the national newspaper reported.
“We’ve seen pockets of slowness in the East Coast,” admitted Target CEO Brian Cornell.
The American Family Association, which promotes traditional values, is taking credit for the fall in sales after collecting 1.4 million signatures online.
“We are confident that our boycott has played a significant role in Target’s financial results that came out today,” Walker Wildmon, assistant to the president of the American Family Association, told CNN.
Either way, the retailer is spending $20 million to add private bathrooms that can be locked in an effort to placate customer concerns … and was clear about the reason behind the move.
“It’s clear that some of our guests like and some dislike our inclusive bathroom policy,” Chief Financial Officer Cathy Smith told reporters on a media briefing, according to Fortune.
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