Target says that calls for a boycott are not the reason its had sluggish sales over the summer
Target has said that it is to spend $20million installing single-stall bathrooms in all its stores, in addition to its men’s and women’s restrooms.
The Washington Post says that Cathy Smith, Target’s chief financial officer, revealed the news in a conference call with reporters yesterday on the release of its quarterly results.
Many Target stores already have single-stall bathrooms, but they’re now being added to all stores in an effort to appease those unhappy with the company’s policy on allowing transgender customers to use restrooms in fitting with their gender identity.
Although the policy is not new, Target posted an online message in April reaffirming its stance, prompting a backlash from some family-oriented and religious groups.
America Family Association has been encouraging people to boycott the store and launched a petition that it claims has attracted over 1.4million signatures.
More bizarrely, a group called Faith2Action produced a music video blasting the store for its decision. Both groups have expressed fears that predatory men might exploit the policy to prey on women and girls in women’s restrooms.
‘Some of our guests clearly are uncomfortable with our policy, and some are really supportive,’ said Smith in the conference call.
Target’s quarterly results fell more than expected over the second quarter of the year – the first times sales had dropped in two years.
Smith indicated that she didn’t believe the fall was due to calls for a boycott over the bathroom policy.
‘It’s difficult to tease out one thing that’s driving results,’ adding that that the impact of the bathroom issue has, ‘really not been material.’
Electronic sales in particular have suffered, which the retailer partly puts down to a fall in demand for Apple products. It’s hoping for an upturn with the release of the iPhone7 in September.
Although sales were less than expected, and its shares closed down 6.4% yesterday, Target still reported quarterly profits of $680million for the period, on total revenue of $16.17billion.
Target is far from being the only Fortune500 to have a transgender-friendly restroom policy. Toys’R’Us, Barnes & Noble and Walgreens have all indicated that they have similar policies.