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We want our stores to be a “happy place”

Target (TGT) plans to adjust its marketing approach for heritage months like Pride Month after some consumer disruptions affected sales in the second quarter.

“Listening to guest feedback and evolving is part of what we do every day,” Christina Hennington, chief growth officer of Target, said on a media call about the company’s second-quarter earnings. “Some of the changes we’ll be making to our Heritage Month collections going forward will look like this: We’ll have a slightly more focused lineup, we’ll evolve our store and digital presentations, we’ll revisit the mix of owning national brands with our external partners. And so on… you’ll see us celebrate these moments heritage, but with these modifications.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told Yahoo Finance on the call that consumers view Target as their “happy place,” and that the retailer will do what it can to adapt to that expectation.

Colorful Pride Month slides are displayed at the Target store.

Pride Month clothing is seen displayed at a Target store on June 06, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Reuters reported that conservative media outlets and some Republican politicians called transgender designer Eric Carnell’s Pride Month collection, which appeared in stores in May, “satanic.” These places made allegations that Target was marketing products to children.

The company’s decision in late May to remove certain LGBTQ-themed merchandise after a customer backlash fueled by conservative messaging sparked more global reactions via social media.

The executives targeted on the media call said there have been incidents of shoppers threatening employees and damaging Pride-themed merchandise and displays. Target said the hype hurt second-quarter sales.

Once Target addressed the group, Cornell added on the call, sales trends began to gradually improve.

“Looking forward, we’ll continue to celebrate Pride and other heritage moments, which is just one part of our commitment to supporting diverse teams and guests,” Cornell explained. “However, as we navigate an ever-changing operational and social environment, we are applying what we have learned to ensure we remain close to our guests and their expectations of Target.”

Despite a course correction mid-quarter, Target had a tough three months.

Second-quarter comparable sales were down 5.4% from a year ago.

The discounter cut its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, warning that general economic malaise, rising interest rates, and uncertainty that student loan payments will resume in a few weeks could continue to take a toll.

Brian Suzy He is the Executive Editor of Yahoo Finance. Follow Suzy on Twitter @tweet and on linkedin. Tips on the banking crisis? Email

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