Retailers are becoming a lot less closeted. Many retailers are turning their attention to gays and lesbians, a group that wields substantial buying power but isn’t fully integrated into mainstream advertising. Similar to other moves to attract different minority groups, the push comes with risks, as it could threaten the retailers’ relationships with some of their longtime shoppers. Nonetheless, from J.C. Penney Co.’s JCP -0.45% high-profile hiring of openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman, to Target Corp. TGT -0.05% selling same-sex greeting cards, retailers are trying ways to cozy up to a community that by one estimate is as much as 16 million strong and has almost double the disposable income of the average American—some $49,000 per capita compared with the $26,000 average.
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