Target stock has been feeling the heat since its April 19 announcement that team members and customers could use whatever restrooms and fitting rooms they choose, based on their own personal “gender identity.” For those unfamiliar with the concept of gender identity, it is a specially-contrived term that pertains to people who see themselves as being a gender other than that which would be indicated by their biological predisposition…in other words, their physical “plumbing.” To say the announcement has been poorly received by the general public is an understatement; in addition to a very public outcry from shoppers, Target stock has gone from a price of 83.98, the closing price on April 19, to 75.60, the closing price as of the date this article is being written, May 12.
Of course, the negative publicity associated with the Target announcement is due not just to the announcement itself; that clearly, by itself, was going to engender enough of a customer backlash. Beyond whatever independent negative customer reaction was going to be felt, an organized boycott effort engineered by the American Family Association has caught like wildfire, and clearly exacerbated whatever negative effects were going to be felt by Target, anyway.
Josh Enomoto, writing over at InvestorPlace about the current dustup besetting Target and its stock, makes a couple of particularly good points. For one thing, the number of transgender people in the U.S. is roughly a whopping .1% to .3% of the entire population, which means that Target curiously chose to make a major, controversial change in its restroom and fitting room policy for the sake of a (relatively) tiny demographic, none of whom were, obviously, prevented from using fitting rooms or restrooms in Target before the change was made. Moreover, for those inclined to think that Target’s stock decline is merely a coincidence, that seems unlikely; for one thing, as Enomoto points out, there were no other news items of any significance pertaining to Target that could account for the sudden, steep backslide, and, for another, the current decline began precisely the day after the announcement was made, which was also the day the company achieved its all-time closing high of 83.98.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large