Market cap decline due to Target boycott reaches $11 billion
As the Queen of Denial, Target's CEO Brian Cornell claims that his company's bathroom policy has nothing to do with the massive loss in market cap experienced by Target since the policy came into force on April 19.
Back in late May, Cornell performed a Milli Vanilli and blamed it on the rain, claiming that "[i]t's been a very wet and cold start to the year, and it's reflected in our sales[.] ... We haven't seen anything from a structural standpoint that gives us pause."
At the latest shareholders' meeting, the CEO stood his ground, insisting, "Target has suffered no negative financial impact due to the much hated bathroom policy."
This is clearly incorrect.
Since April 19, Target (TGT) has massively underperformed its main competitors, including Costco (COST), Walmart (WMT), Dollar General (DG), and Dollar Tree (DLTR):
Costco's market cap change is unchanged from April 19, while Walmart is up 1.0%, Dollar General has increased 8.7%, and Dollar Tree has seen an 11.2% rise in market cap over this period.
In sharp contrast, Target's market cap has seen a 20.8% decline.
With its pre-"transgender" policy stock trend best correlating with Walmart's, Target's market cap should currently be up at least 1% relative to the April 19 value, rather than 21% down.
As a result, the direct costs of the boycott are now at $11 billion and growing.
The situation could get much worse once Q2 earnings are reported in mid-August. Target's earnings estimates keep being revised downward. As recently as one month ago, Q2 earnings were projected to be $1.36. Now that is down to $1.13, and Q3 is predicted to come in at just $0.97.
While some misguided progressives claim that "social conservatives' time has long gone," the reality, as shown by the Target boycott, is the opposite. The socially conservative silent majority, comprising at least 96.6% of the U.S. population (and upwards of 97.7%) identifying as "straight," controls the vast majority of the consumer spending power, and as Target is finding out, a non-trivial portion of this base is sometimes prepared to hold to its principles.