Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hate group leader is all sorts of displeased over Target Stores

Tim Wildmon
At the beginning of March I explained that Target's fourth quarter earnings miss had nothing to do with American Family Association's silly boycott over bathrooms and dressing rooms. Snopes.com seems to have reached a similar conclusion and that is most upsetting to the hate group's leader, Tim Wildmon. I'll get to him — bear with me.

Snopes' aim was to challenge a story in Breitbart which claimed (among other thnings):
Company officials indirectly acknowledged the consumer boycott. “Our fourth-quarter results reflect the impact of rapidly changing consumer behavior, which drove very strong digital growth but unexpected softness in our stores,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a company statement. The company also admitted that it would likely continue to experience losses through the year.

Breitbart.com, February 28, 2017

Of course any rational human being with a reasonably well functioning cerebral cortex who reads that paragraph realizes that the company's statement in no way acknowledges the boycott. Moreover, the company didn't lose money; it earned less than expected. Furthermore, Target is not going to lose any money. In other words, Breitbart just makes shit up as it goes along.

According to Snopes:
Target maintains the bathroom policy has had no effects on its business, with company spokeswoman Erika Winkels telling us in an e-mail, “We have made it clear over time that we’ve seen no material impact to the business based on the bathroom policy. We don’t have anything new or different to share.” A poor performance in the 2016 holiday season was also attributed to online sales outpacing foot traffic, but Target is, again, not the only chain feeling the effects.
The bottom line, as I wrote on March 1, is that Amazon is obliterating brick and mortar retailers. Retailers like Target are starting to compete with Amazon online and that is a good thing for consumers.

Now onto the not terribly bright Tim Wildmon (quoting from his email):
I want to thank you for standing firm against Target's dangerous bathroom policy. Your commitment to the boycott has been noticed by major companies. One thing is certain, they don't want what is happening to Target to happen to them.
Actually my Christian persona never signed the boycott pledge. What happened to Target is happening to other retailers and it has nothing to do with AFA.
Somebody needs to tell this to Snopes.com, the fact-checking site so many people depend on for honesty. The site's appraisal of the Target boycott is well off the mark. Snopes.com is simply repeating Target's false claims that the boycott is having no effect on the company.
Snopes did more than just repeating the company's claims. For example, the site explains:
What is dogging Target and other retailers has been competition with all-online retailers like Amazon, which do not have the overhead cost of brick-and-mortar locations. Target, for example, has 1,803 stores. “Online players don’t have a huge network of stores and since they don’t have that cost, they can offer lower prices,” [Edward Jones analyst] Yarbough said. Customers also have the immediate ability to do price-comparisons with smart phones.
The Snopes.com story includes a quote from Target's public relations manager Erika Winkels saying the boycott has had no effect on them: "We have made it clear over time that we've seen no material impact to the business based on the bathroom policy. We don't have anything new or different to share."

I think we can translate this as – Target not only does not care about the safety of their customers, but they do not miss the 1.4 million families who are boycotting them and it seems they simply do not care enough to invite the boycotters back to Target.
I think we can translate this as — Target is being truthful about the effects of a so-called boycott. Misleading investors is a very serious charge.

Only a small percentage of the population shops at Target (or just about any other retailer). Chances are that only a small percentage of the people who signed that pledge actually shop at Target. We can also assume that some of the people who did sign the pledge will continue to shop at Target if the company has something they want at the best price.
FACT: Despite Target's denial, the boycott is dealing a crippling financial blow to the company. Since it was launched in April 2016, Target has seen a significant drop in foot traffic to their stores. Effects of the boycott are also clear in Target's financial report released February 28. The report reflected a dramatic drop in Target's sales and earnings during October, November, and December.
Stating wishful thinking as fact is a lie, oh good Christian. There is a deliberate confusion of causation and correlation. Wildmon has no way of knowing anything more or different than Target officials. The company has not yet filed it's proxy for this year but at the end of last year key executives and directors beneficially owned 1.5 million shares of the company. Other executives probably combine for considerably more insider ownership. Aside from their fiduciary responsibilities they certainly have an economic incentive to do what is best for the bottom line.
FACT: Snopes.com ignores the assessment of others outside the corporation. Here are some recent news headlines…
Brietbart, PJ Media, Townhall.com and so on. Really Tim, I am not impressed. AFA is promoting a fiction when, in fact, their boycotts have universally been failures. They are faring no better with Target. If only prayer really worked …

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