Nearly one year ago, Americans across the country initiated a boycott over Target's transgender bathroom policy. Now, the company reveals the boycott really hurt the company's bottom line.
On April 19 of 2016, Target publicized their bathroom policy in a blog post. The store stated their policy was that customers were welcome to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, despite concerns over child safety.
"Inclusivity is a core belief at Target," the company wrote. "Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target."
But according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Target CEO Brian Cornell says he never approved the post, only found out about it after it was published and said the ensuing backlash was "self-inflicted."
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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.
Much of the fall in customers could likely be attributed to a nationwide petition that called for customers to stop shopping at the retail giant until the store reversed its bathroom policy. Millions signed that petition.
Still, Cornell has said since then that he doesn't regret the company's bathroom policy and they will continue to "embrace our belief of diversity," according to CNBC.
"We’re committed...to make sure every one of our stores has that option, because we want to make sure that our guests be welcomed in our stores. But if there’s a question of safety, I can tell you and others, our focus on safety is unwavering, and we want to make sure we provide a welcoming environment for all our guests, one that’s safe, one that’s comfortable," he said last May.
Indeed, despite waves of pressure, Target has maintained their bathroom policy of customers being able to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.