• Target has slashed its annual Pride collection after the retailer faced protests last summer.
  • Now, rather than thousands of LGBTQ+ themed products, the assortment 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. Foto: Target

Whereas last May, Target's Pride collection featured more than 2,000 items online, this year's assortment consists of several dozen items — fewer than 75 in the regions Business Insider examined, including California, New York, and Wisconsin — as of May 28th.

Now instead of bold statements and functional garments, the 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. Foto: 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 last year. Foto: 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."

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