After second-quarter reports showed a dramatic loss in earnings, Target CEO Brian Cornell refused to acknowledge any link between the abysmal showings and the massive boycott of its stores by those opposed to its transgender bathroom policy.
"To date, we have not seen a material or measurable impact on our business," he claimed. "Just a handful of stores across the country have seen some activity and have been impacted."
The numbers belie his claims, however. Target lost a stunning $5 per share in its second quarter, down from $75.48 to $70.63 — a total drop in value of 6.4 percent. Compare this to K-Mart's losses in the same time frame — a retailer that has been suffering for years and is on its way out — the chain store reported a loss of only 75 cents per share in its second quarter.
Meanwhile, Target's biggest competitor Walmart saw the biggest bump in same-store sales in four years, surpassing Wall Street forecasts. It enjoyed a 2-percent increase in shares, earning $1.07 per share in the second quarter, trading now at about $74 per share — higher than Target. Revenue grew a total of 0.5 percent to $121 billion.
J.C. Penney also enjoyed an increase in earnings, with sales rising 2.2 percent after several years of decline.
Target's financial slump, then, has nothing to do with an economic trend across the board, but is unique to the retailer itself, and particularly noticeable, considering the reversal in earnings and revenue from years previous. Both the CEO and the Chief Financial Officer are conceding that its biggest problem is that fewer visitors are coming to the store.
According to Cornell, "our number one challenge was traffic." CFO Cathy Smith echoed his sentiments: "Clearly traffic was our single biggest issue, and our number one challenge." In spite of the obvious, Target continues its refusal to acknowledge that its controversial, wildly unpopular transgender bathroom policy has anything to do with its decline.
Watch the panel discuss the boycott in "The Download—Boycotting the Trans Agenda."