Bathrooms have become a hot topic of debate in recent years since some places have allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that matched their identities and not necessarily their private parts.
Target did such a move last year in April when it publicized a policy that said transgender customers were welcome to use the bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity.
Target’s post said, “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”
This sparked a nationwide boycott of the retailer. Many people who did not agree with the company’s sentiments decided to stop shopping altogether at the chain.
1.4 million people even signed a pledge to stop shopping at Target unless it reversed the policy.
Target’s CEO Brian Cornell supposedly never approved the post that cost his company millions.
According to The Wall Street Journal, he only found out about the post until after it was published. It should be noted that although he didn’t approve the post, he still agreed with and supported the policy.
In May, Cornell sand in an interview with CNBC, “We took a stance, and we are going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion.”
The Journal said that Cornell later told colleagues that he wouldn’t have approved the decision to “flaunt” the policy and that the backlash was “self-inflicted.”
So how much damage did this post cost the company? Millions in lost sales and added expenses such as $20 million for installing single-occupancy bathrooms in its stores to appease critics and offer more privacy to guests.
Target’s sales have fallen 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.
Disclaimer: We have no position in Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) and have not been compensated for this article.