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MINNEAPOLIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - Major U.S. retailer Target Corporation is shuttering 12 large stores, according to a report this week from Minnesota news outlet Star Tribune, and some are speculating it's fallout from its controversial transgender bathroom policy.
On Monday, Target's executives announced the upcoming closure of 12 locations exhibiting scarce sales. Target, Best Buy and other major retailers are shifting their tactics to match ongoing changes in Americans' shopping habits. Store chains are dumping large locations that underperform and building new, smaller stores situated in urban areas.
Target plans to open 32 of these smaller stores this year, and is set to open 35 more locations next year. The company is also remodeling some stores to add a pickup location for online purchases.
Some commentators see these store closures as a sign of Target's ongoing decline caused by customers' backlash against leftist gender ideology. The Target Corp. took devastating losses in the stock market in the past two years owing to its promotion of transgenderism.
The store chain began work on pro-transgender bathroom policies in August 2015. Corporate executives then affirmed a gender-fluid bathroom policy in April 2016. In the same month, Target debuted a line of gender-neutral children's products.
The transgender toilet policy caused immediate backlash. Before the end of the month, a petition protesting the policy garnered over 1 million signatures.
The NFL anthem protest controversy in recent months has shown that the American public responds negatively when large corporations get caught up in divisive politics.
Professional sports — especially the National Football League (NFL) — has lost many supporters in recent years, thanks largely to athletes' involvement in political controversies.
During the current football season, a growing number of NFL players started kneeling during the national anthem. It all began last year with Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, who sat on the bench during the anthem at a pre-season game. The NFL player said in a 2016 interview, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
Other NFL players have joined Kaepernick in protesting during the anthem. The NFL anthem protests exploded in September this year after President Donald Trump remarked, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son-of-a-b**** off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired!'"
In subsequent weeks, NFL players and officials continued butting heads with the president over the national anthem protests. The whole controversy was a turn-off for many Americans, especially political conservatives. Some sports fans began boycotting the NFL, even taking videos of themselves burning team spirit-wear and season tickets. The NFL lost a few corporate sponsors as well.