Target to cut back Pride merchandise in some stores; consumers feel less bullish

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Target cut back on carrying Pride-themed goods

NEW YORK — Target confirmed that it won’t be carrying its LGBTQ+ merchandise for Pride month in June in some stores after the discount retailer received a backlash last year for its assortment.

The company, which operates roughly 2,000 stores, said May 10 that the decision to offer Pride merchandise, including adult apparel, home products, food and beverage will be based on “guest insights and consumer research.”

A Target spokeswoman declined to offer the number of stores that won’t stock the items. But a full range will be offered online, the retailer said.

The moves, first reported by Bloomberg, come after Target removed some items from its stores last year after intense backlash from some customers who confronted workers and tipped over displays.

Consumer sentiment slips to 6-month low

WASHINGTON — Consumer sentiment fell sharply in May to the lowest level in six months as Americans cited concerns about stubbornly high inflation and interest rates and fears that unemployment could rise.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, released May 10 in a preliminary version, dropped to 67.4 this month from a final reading of 77.2 in April. That is still about 14 percent higher than a year ago.

Consumers’ outlook has generally been gloomy since the pandemic and particularly after inflation first spiked in 2021.

US pledges aid to track, contain bird flu

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials pledged nearly $200 million in new spending and other efforts May 10 to help track and contain an outbreak of bird flu in the nation’s dairy cows.

The outbreak of the virus known as Type A H5N1 has spread to 42 herds in nine states. The new funds include $101 million to continue work to prevent, test, track and treat animals and humans potentially affected by the virus. And they include about $28,000 each to help individual farms test cattle and bolster biosecurity efforts to halt the spread of the virus.

The risk to the public from the outbreak remains low, officials said.

South Pacific carrier halts all int’l flights

MELBOURNE, Australia — Air Vanuatu has filed for bankruptcy protection a day after it cancelled all international service, stranding thousands of travelers.

The South Pacific state-owned airline had canceled more than 20 flights to and from the Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane, and the New Zealand city of Auckland for the rest of the week.

The airline said it was the result of “extended maintenance requirements” on their aircraft. The bankruptcy liquidators appointed from Ernst & Young Australia said safety and maintenance checks would be made before normal operations resumed.

The Vanuatu Tourism Office said discussions were underway with Virgin Australia and Fiji Airways about flying stranded passengers.

Air Vanuatu operates four planes: a  Boeing 737 and three turboprop planes.

Some Vegas hotel workers launch 2-day strike

LAS VEGAS — About 700 workers have walked off the job at a hotel-casino near the Las Vegas Strip in what union organizers say will be a 48-hour strike after spending months trying to reach a deal for new five-year contract with Virgin Hotels.

Culinary Union Local 226 said the May 10 action marks their first major strike in 22 years. Virgin Hotels has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the union of negotiating in bad faith.

The union reached agreements late last year with all the major hotel-casinos on the Strip covering about 40,000 workers and with most downtown and off-Strip properties in early February covering another 10,000 workers.

Exec who glorified overwork may be out

ZHONG KONG — A top Baidu public relations executive has reportedly departed the Chinese technology company after she drew public outcry over comments that were seen as glorifying a culture of overwork.

Qu Jing implied in a series of social media videos that she was not concerned about her employees as she was “not their mom” and said she only cared about results.

A Baidu employee on May 10 confirmed to the Associated Press that Qu was no longer with the firm. Qu had apologized earlier and said her videos did not reflect Baidu’s stance.