Target in Miami
Target Corp.’s Miami store

Target [NYSE:TGT] shares are up a couple of bucks today, possibly on news that they are closing 12 under-performing stores. The evidence is that Target is doing qukte well. That is based upon reported earnings and earnings guidance. The general consensus among analysts is that the stock is a hold. Keep in mind also that the dividend yield is over 4%.

Never mind the evidence. According to hate group American Family Association’s Chris Woodward, “Retailer’s decisions coming home to roost, says watchdog.” Once again AFA is claiming that a failed boycott has succeeded. This time they have an accomplice to the deception.

OneNewsNow contacted Robert Kuykendall of 2ndVote, a group that monitors corporate activism, about the Target closings.

“It’s not surprising that Target stores would be experiencing problems that arise out of profitability,” responds Kuykendall. “Millions of Americans have said [they’re] not shopping at Target anymore because of the radical decision and dangerous decision Target made to invite men into women’s restrooms and changing rooms.”

It is unlikely that Mr. Kuykendall has an MBA or any business skills for that matter. Mr. Kuykendall isn’t mentioned on 2nd Vote’s website. Nor is he included in the list of officers in the organization’s 2015 tax return — the most recent available. Apparently he is a spokesperson for the organization. What is also apparent is that Mr. Kuykendall is a mindless idiot. A company that is doing very well (Target) is going to be doing even better by closing stores that are under-performing.

They have been at this boycott bullshit for well over a year and have accomplished nothing. Target has stated (at legal peril for a public company) that the boycott has had no material effect on earnings. Shall I add illiterate to Mr. Kuykendall’s gifts?

According to Kuykendall, it’s not just Target’s bathroom and changing room policy that’s influencing consumers’ shopping decisions. “Target is one of the most liberal companies in the country,” he explains.

“The company has funded dozens of left-wing political organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, a liberal LGBT activist organization behind the attacks on traditional marriage and behind the movement to normalize behavior that undermines our religious liberty and the religious liberty of business owners.”

That might indeed influence shoppers. If so, the evidence suggests that it is influencing them positively. I will concede that my take is a possible confusion of correlation and causation. However there is at least that correlation. Kukendall’s analysis is based upon a condition that does not exist. It is fiction born of wishful thinking. It gets even worse:

Woodward is surprisingly smart enough to hedge and get some distance:

While it is closing some stores, Target does say it’s remodeling others and opening smaller locations. Still, Kuykendall believes Target is scrambling for strategies to see if they can recover business.

I wonder if Tim Wildmon noticed Woodward backing away a bit. Then he continues with quotes from 2nd Vote’s official nitwit:

“Target has been in spin mode for most of the past two years, ever since they made this terrible decision to say that men can come into women’s bathrooms and changing rooms,” he continues. “The truth is Target has been slammed by customers deciding they’re just not going to shop at Target anymore – and we’re coming up on the Christmas shopping season. These last two months are by far the largest season for retail shopping, and a year ago – in Target’s busiest season – they lost three percent of sales compared to the year before. And I would expect that trend to continue.”

“Spin mode?” Their earnings reports and upward guidance have been fiction? Based upon what? People — many of whom are probably not in Target’s market — signing a non-binding petition? Target did indeed miss its estimate for the 1st quarter ended January 31. However (per share):

  • 2nd quarter: Estimate: $.91 — Actual: $1.21
  • 3rd quarter: Estimate: $1.19 — Actual: $1.23
  • 4th quarter: Estimate: $.86 (Earnings release is November 15).

Next week we will get guidance from the company regarding the first quarter. In the future much will depend upon the company’s ability to become a force in online sales. The supposed boycott is not a factor one way or the other.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.