Will There be a Happy Medium Between Consumer’s and Target?

Over one million consumers have spoken regarding Target’s decision to allow customers and employees to utilize the bathroom of their chosen identity.  Now, reports say, the issue has reached a “boiling point” with customers deciding to do business elsewhere.

The Business Insider reported, based on data supplied by both YouGov BrandIndex which measure consumer perceptions of major brands, that while previously 42% of consumers considered shopping from Target before the boycott, the number has now dropped to 36%.

The report notes that the consumer perception has declined to its lowest point in two years.  Yet despite the drop, more individuals hold a positive view as opposed to a negative one.

Kevin Dinino, CEO of San Diego-based KCD PR claims, “There is a very large group out there that supports Target’s decision.”

Dinino says that about 80 million people shop at Target nationwide each month, and about 1.5% of its total customers (approximately 1.2 million shoppers) have been left due to the bathroom controversy.

Target’s rationale behind their decision is the desire to be more inclusive to allow people who identify themselves as transgendered to utilize the bathroom of their choice.  In a statement, they said the following:

“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

This decision has resulted in many concerned parents have protested at several stores nationwide, and the petition by the American Family Association has received over 1.2 million signatures asking Target to reverse its decision.

The AFA, in its petition claims that Target’s policy allows sexual predators easier access to their victims, and with Target especially advertising that men can now enter women’s bathrooms, they feel that it is giving predators a “carte blanche” to enter in.

“Clearly, Target’s dangerous new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters. We think many customers will agree. And we think the average Target customer is willing to pledge to boycott Target stores until it makes protecting women and children a priority.” The AFA says.

Consumer backlash has resulted in stock prices plummeting earlier this month from $84.10 per share in April to $79.35 when the AFA’s petition was launched.

Brian Cornell, who is the Chairman and CEO of Target, responded to consumer backlash by commenting that the company will not be reversing its policy, but is seeking to assure customers that safety of its consumers is a major priority.

Cornell said to CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that their focus regarding safety is unwavering, and they want to provide a welcoming environment to guests.  He said that the majority of their stores already have a family restroom, and Target is committed to making sure over the next few months to ensure that each of their stores has that option available.