Target has around 75 Pride items in its collection right now. Here's what changed.

Target has around 75 Pride items in its collection right now. Here's what changed.
  • Target has slashed its annual Pride collection after the retailer faced protests last summer.

  • Now, rather than thousands of LGBTQ+ themed products, Target's Pride masthead now has around 75 items.

  • Target said it's made changes "based on guest insights and sales trends."

Target's annual Pride collection is a shadow of its former self after the retailer faced protests from conservative groups last summer.

After a decade of offering a special collection of products sourced from the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate Pride month in June, the retailer said last year it was "rethinking" its cultural merchandising strategy.

Pride this year at Target is shaping up to be a lot smaller, shorter, and quieter than it once was — and there's a good chance you might not see it at all.

Target's online Pride collection on May 28.
Target's online Pride collection on May 28.Target

While this year's assortment consists of fewer than 75 items curated specifically for Pride month, roughly 2,000 items of other year-round LGBTQIA+ themed merchandise — some of which was included in Target's 2023 Pride masthead — now can be found on a separate LGBTQIA+ Shop page.

A Target spokesperson told Business Insider that it was inaccurate to characterize this year's Pride collection as containing thousands fewer items compared to 2023.

Now instead of bold statements and functional garments, the curated selection has more toned-down rainbow-themed apparel and accessories, a few alcoholic drinks, pet gear, and a cutting board emblazoned with "It's Giving Charcuterie."

A seasonal display at Target in Madison, Wisconsin.
A seasonal display at Target in Madison, Wisconsin.Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

The company said earlier this month only select stores would carry Pride products, rather than all of its nearly 2,000 US locations.

Business Insider visited a store on Tuesday in Madison, Wisconsin, and found that Target had yet to set out any Pride merchandise, although the company's website and app said items could be purchased from that location. A guest services employee at the store confirmed to BI that online orders could be fulfilled from the store, and said the store display should be available starting June 1.

For now, what previously had been the location of a front-of-store Pride display was instead occupied by a summer "Swim and Sand Shop." Days earlier the spot had been set up for a pickleball promotion.

A Pride month display at a Target in Wisconsin
A Pride month display at a Target in Wisconsin last year.Dominick Reuter/Insider

In an interview last year as the conservative firestorm was gaining momentum, CEO Brian Cornell argued against the idea that Target was too "woke."

"When we think about purpose at Target, it's really about helping all the families, and that 'all' word is really important," he said "We want to do the right thing to support families across the country."

"I think those are just good business decisions, and it's the right thing for society, and it's the great thing for our brand," he added.

A year after the remarks, we're getting a better sense of what exactly is changing as the company switches up its strategy, which Target has said was the result of sales trends and guest insights.

"Please know our intention is to bring our culture of care to life for our LGBTQIA+ team members — not just during June, but year-round," Target's VP of Brand Marketing Carlos Saavedra said in an email to the company's Pride+ Business Council earlier this month. "We remain committed to this wonderful community, and we are so excited to celebrate Pride with you all."

May 29, 2023 — Updated to add Target's response disputing the characterization that its collection included around 2,000 fewer items and to clarify the inclusion of year-round LGBTQIA+ themed merchandise in last year's online catalog.

Read the original article on Business Insider