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Target to remove gender-based signage in some kids’ aisles after controversy

Target (TGT) will start using gender-neutral signage in store aisles that carry kids’ toys, bedding, and books, seeking to quell a social media firestorm ignited this summer when a woman expressed displeasure on Twitter at a sign in one of its stores that referenced “building sets” and “girls’ building sets.”

In the coming months, the discount retailer will add signs in its kids’ bedding area that no longer feature suggestions by gender but will instead address kids as a group. Target will also remove references to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow, or green paper on the back walls of its shelves of its kids’ sections, the company said in a blog post on Friday.

“As guests have pointed out, in some departments like toys, home or entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary,” Target said. “We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.”

Two months ago, Abi Bechtel, a mother in Ohio, criticized Target’s gender designations in its toy aisle and posted a photo on Twitter. The post led to an outcry, with the admonition, “Don’t do this, Target.”

Gender labels will remain in the kids’ clothing section because of sizing and fit differences.

Target has repeatedly said in the year since Brian Cornell became CEO that kids and baby products were one of its priorities.