Target decided to remove some of its LGBTQ+ pride merchandise following a backlash of some of its trans-friendly products, the company's CEO, Brian Cornell spoke out in praise of the retailer embracing diversity to make "good business decisions" and drive up sales.Cornell said on Fortune's Leadership Next podcast last week that the company realized it "had to do more" in terms of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2020.Target made "some bold commitments" to increase Black representation among its team members across the country—companies, vendors, and service providers—and accelerate opportunities for them, Cornell said.Urged by the podcast's hosts to comment on criticisms accusing Target and other brands of profiteering from "woke" capitalism by embracing DE&I initiatives, Cornell said that the retailer's choices were driven by a desire to "do the right thing" for "all families" in the United States."When we think about purpose at Target, it's really about helping all the families, and that 'all' word is really important," Cornell said. "So we want to do the right thing to support families across the country.
And when it's true to our purpose and true to our culture, we lean in to support families across the country."Cornell said that embracing DE&I initiatives "fueled" much of Target's growth over the last nine years, adding that he could "see the benefits for our shareholders.""The things we've done from a DE&I standpoint, it's adding value, it's helping us drive sales, it's building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests," he said. "And those are just the right things for our business today."But Target has.