Recently, the CEO of Target, Brian Cornell, sat down for an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, where he addressed the conservative backlash against the company. Fed-up consumers revolted against the department store after selling woke merchandise such as “tuck-friendly” female swimsuits and Satanist-designed Pride clothes.
In the interview, the CEO claimed that the conservative backlash against Target trumped all other risks the company has endured throughout his tenure. Cornell alleges conservative shoppers voicing disagreement over woke merchandise posed a greater danger than when Target stores were being looted in the wake of the George Floyd riots.
“Well, why don’t we step back? So this is my 10th holiday season at Target you and I have been talking almost every quarter during those 10 years. And, you know, I’ve seen natural disasters. We’ve seen the impact of COVID leading into the pandemic, some of the violence that took place after George Floyd’s murder, but I would tell you that the, what I saw back in May, is the first time since I’ve been in this job, where I had Store team members saying it’s not safe to come to work,” Cornell said.
Cornell claimed Target locations were facing threats from angry consumers, alleging some product had even been destroyed. Apparently, this is mored dangerous than hundreds of individuals completely ransacking in an utterly chaotic fashion.
“What was happening to them. Very aggressive behavior, store level, lots of threats, product being destroyed, point of sale being disrupted. And when we started to hear that, we knew we had to take action. We had to prioritize the safety of our teams. And I knew personally, this was not going to be well received. But we had to prioritize the safety of the team. And we made some changes the location of the product, we curated the assortment, we addressed some of the products that were getting the most attention,” the CEO said.
Cornell continued outlining the alleged aggressive behavior from consumers, while also reminding everyone that Target’s woke initiatives aren’t anything new given that the company has engaged in them for over ten years. “We’ve been celebrating heritage moments like pride for over a decade now. We’ve never seen that kind of response,” he said. However, in the midst of the powerful Bud Light boycott something appears to have finally struck a chord with conservative shoppers, who are showing they will punish woke companies with their wallets.
Cornell also explained that moving forward the company will have to reconsider how it manages the variety of “heritage” months the company celebrates.
“But in the moment, we said the best thing for us to do is address the issue. We can combat each and every statement that’s being made and do the right thing for our team. Take the learning as we go forward. But it was a difficult time. But in the environment, we said look, let’s focus on deescalating the issue, taking care of our team, celebrating the moment and take the learning as we go forward. And we talked during a recent earnings call, we will manage these moments very differently. These heritage moments whether it’s pride or Hispanic heritage or black history,” he said.
"We've been celebrating heritage moments like Pride for over a decade now. We've never seen that kind of response," says $TGT CEO Brian Cornell. "I knew personally this was not going to be well received. But we had to prioritize the safety of the team." pic.twitter.com/m1nP44kBzo
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) November 2, 2023
Note: Featured image is a screenshot from the embedded video.
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