Target shares hit with another downgrade

Debt ceiling agreement, student loan repayments to impact discretionary spending

Target was hit with another downgrade as its stock sits near a three-year low after having lost more than $12.4 billion in market value, which stems from its Pride merchandise controversy.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TGT TARGET CORP. 152.81 +1.41 +0.93%

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Target Pride Collection

Many Target locations across the country feature massive June Pride month displays on an annual basis. (Brian Flood/FOX Business)

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KeyBanc Capital Markets on Monday cut the retailer's shares to "sector weight" from "overweight" as the resumption of student loan payments stipulated by Congress' debt ceiling agreement poses a sizable headwind for discretionary spending for shoppers, which has an elevated discretionary sales mix and a younger, college-educated core consumer demographic.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase also downgraded its stock, with analysts citing the possibility of a decline in sales due to consumers pulling back spending amid persistent inflation.

Meanwhile, student loan repayments are scheduled to resume this year. Under the terms of the deal to raise the debt limit, the pause in student-loan repayments will end by Aug. 30.

Shares have fallen more than 20% during the quarter as the retailer deals with the fallout from its Pride merchandising marketing campaign, which offered items that included female-style swimsuits that have the option to "tuck" male genitalia.

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Other products were labeled as "Thoughtfully fit on multiple body types and gender expressions," a "Gender Fluid" mug and a variety of adult clothing with slogans such as "Super Queer," among other items.

Pride swimsuit

Target Pride swimsuits boast "tuck-friendly construction" and "extra crotch coverage," presumably to accommodate male genitalia, even if they are made in an otherwise female style. (Brian Flood/FOX Business / Fox News)

WALMART’S PRIDE MERCHANDISING UNCHANGED AS TARGET SEES BACKLASH OVER NEW ITEMS

As Fox News Digital first reported, the retailer was forced to remove and relocate some items due to employee safety.

"For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month," the spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. "Since introducing this year’s collection, we've experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and [well-being] while at work."

"Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior," the statement continued. "Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year."

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Fox News Digital's Brian Flood contributed to this report.