(LifeSiteNews) — J.P. Morgan downgraded Target’s stock Thursday while the retail giant still faces backlash for selling pride-themed clothing for children.
The bank downgraded the company’s stock from overweight, meaning that brokers have a positive outlook on company prospects because of the current price of stock, to neutral, indicating that brokers feel that investors should neither sell nor buy company stock based on the belief that its price will remain stagnant.
According to the bank, the downgrade is caused by both the backlash Target is continuing to receive on account of the Pride-themed clothing as well as “weakness” on the part of Target shoppers, a sizable portion of whom are millennials who will soon have to begin to repay their student loan debts for the first time since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020. The bank also cited the inflated price of groceries as a contributing factor to the downgrade.
“We continue to believe that the consumer is broadly weakening while the share of wallet shift away from goods (51% of [Target’s] sales) is ongoing,” said J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Horvers, according to Market Watch. “While still positive on a [three-year] basis, [Target] has been giving back share on a [one-year] view and we believe this share loss could accelerate into back to school and linger into holiday given consumer pressures and recent company controversies.”
“This could turn [Target’s] traffic negative after an impressive run of 12 consecutive positive quarters,” Horvers added.
Target’s stock has suffered a 16.08% decrease in price since last month, with last week seeing a 5.59% decrease. Indeed, Wednesday saw the ninth straight day in which Target stock fell, the worst day for the company’s stock since August 2020.
The company further experienced a market value loss of over $13 billion as of Wednesday, with a market value of $60.44 billion compared with the previous $74 billion before the sale of Pride clothing.
Last month, Target began selling Pride-themed clothing for children and infants, sparking a fierce backlash. It was later discovered that some of the clothing was designed by someone who also sells pins and shirts that openly promote satanism and violence against opponents of radical gender ideology.
In response to the backlash, the company removed some of the clothing, citing “volatile circumstances.” Referring to the backlash Bud Light received from a promotion using “transgender” activist Dylan Mulvaney, a Target insider told Fox News that “some southern Target stores were forced by the corporation to move LGBTQ Pride merchandise away from the front of their locations after customer ‘outrage’ to avoid a ‘Bud Light situation.’”
Some LGBT activists in turn responded to Target’s decision to remove the clothing by issuing a bomb threat, with stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah needing to be evacuated before police determined that the threats were not credible.
In the meantime, a “Boycott Target” rap song hit number one on the iTunes store earlier last week. The song, released by conservative Christian rappers Forgiato Blow and Jimmy Levy featuring Nick Nittoli and Stoney Dudebro, managed to beat a song by Taylor Swift for the top spot.
Target is not the only retailer to face backlash for selling pride-themed clothes for children. Last month, a conservative Twitter account posted an image of Pride-themed clothing for infants in a Kohl’s, prompting the company to receive backlash.
A LifeSite petition urging readers to boycott Target has reached over 32,000 signatures as of this writing.