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Target Shakeup Amid Consumer Rejection of Transgender Mixed-Sex Changing Rooms

Retail giant Target has announced the hire of ex-Nordstrom executive Mark Tritton, amid the self-inflicted pain caused by a consumer rejection of its transgender-friendly bathrooms and changing rooms.

Tritton, the former president of Nordstrom Product Group, is joining Target as the chain’s new chief merchandising officer. He will oversee buying, merchandise sourcing, and product design and development and will spearhead the next phase of Target’s visual merchandising campaigns.

The change in the executive offices follows a massive boycott effort that spurred over 1.2 million customers to sign a petition criticizing the company’s decision to open its changing rooms and bathrooms to people of both sexes.

The chains denial of sexual privacy for its consumers seems to hurting its bottom line. With a stock-market value of $50.39 billion in February, Target’s market cap has been dropping steadily since it has announced its bathroom policy April 19. By the second week of May, the chain’s value had flattened to about $43.9 billion, down $6 billion from April 19.

Even as other retailers saw a drop in President Barack Obama’s floundering economy, Target’s 12 percent loss is greater than many other firms. Costco declined only 6 percent and Walmart fell just 6.9 percent during the same period.

Certainly some part of that loss is due to Obama’s weak economy–but no company is helped by so many management decisions that anger so many customers.

After a month of silence on the matter, Target’s CEO Brian Cornell finally came out to address the matter, but instead of staunching the flow of blood and backing off the policy he doubled down. It didn’t do Target much good as the same day Cornell addressed the issue Target’s stock fell by another 5.43 percent during the day, falling more than rivals J.C. Penny–down 2.47 percent–and Walmart–down 2.75 percent.

In some polls the country is split on the bathroom issue. A badly worded recent Reuters poll which did not take into account men using women’s changing rooms or the issue of school policy, showed a closely split decision with 42.1 percent saying people should use public restrooms based on their sex at birth. That compares to 40.8 percent who said they should use the bathroom of the gender “they identify with.”

On the other hand, a new Rasmussen poll found that fully 51 percent of respondents oppose Obama’s pro-transgender bathroom policies for schools with only 33 percent receptive to them.

Yet another poll from the end of April showed that public support for the progressives’ goal of mandatory mixed-sex rest rooms was down by 20 points in a week of polling.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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