Facing a growing boycott over its recently adopted policy allowing transgender employees and customers to use the bathroom and fitting rooms in accordance with their gender identities, Target Corp. announced on Wednesday that it would spend $20 million to add single-stall bathrooms at all of its stores.
The move comes amid disappointing sales figures for the retail giant. On Wednesday, Target also announced that its second-quarter earnings had fallen 9.7 percent, causing its stock to tumble. But spokesperson Katie Boylan told reporters on a conference call that the company’s sales figures were not significantly affected by the new transgender-inclusive policy or ensuing backlash.
“The impact to the business is not material at this time,” Boylan said of the criticism the company has faced in recent months, according to USA Today.
It’s an assertion that Target’s detractors roundly dispute.
“We’re confident that our boycott has played a significant role in Target’s financial results,” said Walker Wildmon, assistant to the president of the American Family Association, in an interview with CNN Money. More than 1.4 million people have signed onto the American Family Association’s pledge to boycott Target in response to its transgender policy, according to the group’s website.
Target adopted the new policy back in April, when the issue of where transgender people should be able to go the bathroom reached a fever pitch. At the end of March, North Carolina passed its hotly contested House Bill 2, a measure banning transgender people from using government building bathrooms in line with their gender identities. The law is the subject of multiple lawsuits, including one between the governor’s office and U.S. Department of Justice.
There are an estimated 1,800 Target stores in the U.S., most of which already have single occupancy bathrooms available, according to Boylan, the company’s spokesperson. The few hundred stores that don’t have single-stall bathrooms should get them by the beginning of next year.
The single-stall facilities will be open to any customer, she said, and transgender people will still be able to use sex-segregated facilities in accordance with their gender identities.
That, according to the American Family Association, is unacceptable.
"Unisex bathrooms are fine, but Target must maintain the gender-specific bathrooms as well -- if the company is interested in guaranteeing the safety and privacy of women and girls who patronize the retailer's stores," said Ed Vitagliano, the American Family Association's executive vice president, in a statement. The group did not make clear whether it would continue to urge people to boycott.