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Walmart promotes Pride merchandise as Target scales back after backlash

Walmart promoted its new Pride apparel on social media ahead of Pride month on Saturday, writing on Instagram, “Not just a slogan. #PrideAlways is a reminder to lead with love.?”

The companys promotion comes just weeks after Target said its Pride collection would only be available in “select stores” following a major backlash by conservatives last year. 

Target has had June Pride Month displays with rainbow and LGBTQ+ messaging for years, but the addition of products such as female-style swimsuits that can be used to “tuck” male genitalia outraged many consumers last year.

The backlash was so severe that an insider told Fox News Digital at the time that some stores were told to relocate their Pride month displays to avoid sparking a “Bud Light situation.”

Along with Target, Bud Light faced a conservative backlash last year after featuring a transgender influencer in an ad. 

Target also saw a sales slump following the backlash. 

Target CEO Brian Cornell said last year’s second quarter sales downturn showed “an ever-changing operating and social environment” and taught the company a lesson. 

At the time, FOX Business “The Big Money Show” co-host Brian Brenberg said the backlash had a profound effect.

“Clearly, the Pride month backlash by consumers had a huge effect. I mean, particularly on sales,” Brenberg told Fox News Digital. 

Walmarts new “Pride Always” collection promo includes products like a notebook that says “beyond gender” a tote bag that says “totes gay,” a fanny pack with “I heart gay people” on it and rainbow-colored products like a pool floatie and an apron. 

A post shared by Walmart (@walmart)

“While I was creating my collection, it was important to me for it to be positive and uplifting,” Bianca of Bianca Designs said in the promo of her collection. 

Amid the Target backlash, Walmart told FOX Business last year it had no plans to change its LGBTQ+ merchandise. 

“I think we have merchandise that we sell all year that supports different groups,” the companys Chief Merchandising Officer Latriece Watkins said in response to a question about the Target controversy made at the companys associate and shareholder week attended by FOX Business. “I’d say in this particular case, we haven’t changed anything in our assortment.”

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told shareholders last year that the company does not “wake up in the morning wanting to go and make social and political statements,” in response to a question about the company’s engagement with public commentary. 

“We’re [a] retailer,” he added. “We want everybody to feel comfortable shopping with usand we want everybody to feel comfortable and excited about working at Walmart.”

FOX Business has reached out to Walmart for comment. 

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