Kohl’s, the department store chain, is seeing its stock plummet in value as calls for a boycott of it grow and Target and Bud Light face serious financial pain in the wake of boycott efforts directed their way.
Though the scope of the Kohl’s boycott is not yet clear, as both sides remain unsure whether it will more resemble the abortive NFL boycotts of the Colin Kaepernick era or the Bud Light boycott that crashed that brand’s sales by nearly 30 percent, the stock is already on steep path downward.
Though the stock has now recovered somewhat and is up to $20.62 as of the time this article was written, the stock his a low of $17.99 on Thursday, June 1st, falling still more after crashing by 5.1 percent on Tuesday of that week and another 3.6 percent on that Wednesday.
Those moves lower put the stock at its lowest point since spring of 2020, when the world was still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and the shutdowns of retail shopping that seriously hurt companies like Kohl’s that relied on in-person shopping.
It is unclear, however, whether those latest moves lower were the result of boycott calls, which have been growing on TikTok and Twitter because of Pride merchandise Kohl’s is selling, or if increasingly bleak economic news is weighing on the brand, as shares in Kohl’s have fallen by over 54 percent in the past year, far before boycott calls began.
In any case, the company is facing serious boycott trouble, as it was selling Pride-themed clothing for kids that ignited the internet, with the hashtag #boycottkohls garnering over 368,000 views as of May 31st. As of June 5th, that hashtag is up to 420.7K views. Far more worrisome for the brand is that the subject “boycottkohls,” with no hashtag, is up to a massive 715.9M views.
The boycott efforts organized against Target, Kohl’s, Bud Light, and other brands were viciously attacked in a statement put out by over 100 pro-LGBTQ+ groups, such as GLAAD. In that statement, the groups characterized boycotts as “extremist attacks and harassment” of businesses, saying: “Extremist attacks and harassment of businesses for standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and values of diversity, equity, and inclusion have challenged Target, and businesses more broadly, to lead — to demonstrate they mean what they say when investing in and standing with LGBTQ+ people, creatives, and organizations.”
Continuing, the statement called on businesses to “unequivocally” defend “values of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” saying that “Businesses must continue to lead and respond with unwavering support for LGBTQ+ employees, shareholders, customers, allies — and the broader community.”
Target and Bud Light have faced backlash from not just the right, which was furious about their pushing LGBTQ messaging, but from the left, which thought they weren’t defending LGBTQ+ rights strongly enough when they backed off marketing campaigns or apparel related to that issue.
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