Target has lost many shoppers to Walmart since the company announced that its customers must use transgender-friendly, mixed-sex changing rooms and bathrooms, according to satellite pictures of parking lots.
RS Metrics just reported that its analysis for May showed auto traffic at Target stores was down 1.1 percent versus May of 2015, while traffic at Walmart was up 2.5 percent over the same period.
RS Metrics uses satellite imagery to count cars in parking lots. The company reviewed parking-lot images in every week of May and discovered that all but one of the weeks showed fewer autos in Target’s store lots compared to May, 2015. In contrast, Walmart had a greater number of customer cars in its parking lots.
The downward trend began in April when the company revealed its pro-transgender policy. Shortly after, the American Family Association announced a boycott, which has gained 1.3 million signatures, many of which represent a family.
Target’s stock was at $83.98 per share the day it announced its new transgender policy. But just over two months since the announcement, stock prices had fallen to $67.88. On June 13, that company’s stock was trading at $67.14 per share. That drop has slashed the company’s Wall Street value by one-fifth, or roughly $10 billion.
Target CEO Brian Cornell insisted at his latest shareholder meeting that his company’s pro-transgender bathroom policy was perfectly fine and wasn’t costing the company a penny — despite its $10 billion in losses so far this year.
Meanwhile, in order to keep new advantage, Walmart has ramped up its efforts to redesign stores and services to keep its newly gained customers.
“We are spending a lot of time trying to bring enthusiasm back to the stores,” Walmart’s chief merchandising officer for its U.S. stores said to the media early in June. “We have the opportunity to re-imagine retail, again, so that’s what we’re out to do,” the retailer’s CEO added during the same press conference.
Finally, things have gotten so bad for Target that stock analysts are suggesting investors should take Target off the list of stock choices as the retailer’s fortunes continue to slip. Both TheStreet.com and the Motley Fool investment sites have advised buyers to take Target off the list of likely investments.
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