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It is seldom that we see the bad guys get their comeuppance in this world.  An exception is Target Stores and its CEO Brian Cornell.

On April 19, 2016 Target announced a new policy of “transgender” bathrooms – M/F; choose the one you like – in all of its stores.  According to the bible, they were now the bad guys.

This also didn’t go over so well with many humans.  The American Family Association (AFA) launched a “Boycott Target” campaign and online pledge sign-up.

To my surprise, the boycott has had a serious impact.  On May 1 Fortune Magazine reported that Target CEO Brian Cornell’s salary has been reduced by almost 1/3, to $11.6 million.  Of course, there is a reason for this.

As has already been widely reported, due to declining sales Target stock has dropped in value.  The current calculation is a fall from $83.98 per share on the day of the announcement to $57.32 per share this Friday, May 5, 2017; a drop of 31.6%.  An impressive drubbing, but the retired economist in me cries out for more.

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This has happened during a rising stock market.  Compared to the value of the stock market overall, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), the value of Target stock has actually been depressed by 42.3% (that is, its current price compared to what its price would be if it had risen with the market average); an even more impressive drubbing.

For comparison purposes, the famous Monday-Tuesday stock market crash of 1929 was a decline of 23.44%.  Target is just not doing well.

While researching the details of this event I came across a would-be self-appointed “fact checker” Snopes’ claim that the kind of report given here is false.  According to Snopes, in one of the lamest bits of obfuscation I have ever encountered, Target’s stock price did not fall because of its bathroom policy, it fell because its earnings per share declined!  Are they really this stupid?  (No, but they think their audience is.)

The question naturally arises as to why Mr. Cornell hasn’t just been fired.  Here’s my guess: in firing Cornell (no doubt a darling of the LGBT Gestapo) the Board of Directors would have left themselves open to the claim that they were against the bathroom policy.  This way they can avoid being associated with a moral position, and simply go along with Snopes, saying that it’s because earnings per share fell.

In a non-coincidental event, the May 1 issue of Fortune Magazine also reported that Mr. Douglas McMillon, CEO of Target rival Wal-Mart, has received a 13% salary increase, following strong sales performance.

Now where did those additional sales come from?

To the best of my knowledge, Mr. McMillon has yet to send a thank you note to Mr. Cornell.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Brother Bob

Retired economics professor. Born again Christian. Now an OK country boy.


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