Why Did Old Navy Only Sell Their Pride T-Shirts In 26 Of 1,035 Stores?

No, it’s not that Old Navy’s pride shirts have sold out of their other 1,009 stores. It’s that Old Navy only offered the shirts in 26 stores to begin with. That’s 26 stores in about 16 different states, meaning kids in Kentucky, Tennessee and other places that need them never even had a chance to see or order them online. But was Old Navy’s selective marketing a way to avoid an anti-gay boycott or merely cash in on queer-friendly cities? Neither actually.

We’re not ragging on Old Navy; we think it’s cool that they have Pride shirts to begin with and even cooler that they’re donating 10 percent of their profits on the It Gets Better campaign. Old Navy has never sold clothing specifically marketed towards LGBT causes. And like all companies testing out a new product, they probably decided do a limited run of shirts in select markets to see how well they’d sell instead of putting shirts in all 50 states and ending up with a bunch leftover.

Yes, the kids in more rural places won’t see them. But there’s strong indication that if the shirts do well they’ll do a wider release next year. They’ve just announced their decision to release Pride shirts in other US cities. Consider Old Navy’s response when someone complained about this issue on their “Love Proudly” Facebook page:

While we understand your frustration at the limited numbers of stores that will carry this line of shirts, please know that this is a step in the right direction. With enough positive feedback, it’s possible that we will continue this tradition next year and have the product available in even more locations. Feel free to spread the word and have your friends send their positive requests to expand the availability!

We should take a few seconds to contact Old Navy—at [email protected] or 1-800-OLD-NAVY (1-800-653-6289)—and express our appreciation. There’s also two petitions to encourage the store to put the shirts in more states.

Mel Green from Bent Alaska supports Old Navy’s effort and hopes it helped them and IGB rake in the cash, but he has a different idea on what would-be shirt buyers should do with their money instead:

I’ll save the money I would spend in shipping to make a direct donation to the It Gets Better Project. And I’ll also do what I would do with or without an Old Navy Pride tee: I’ll go to Alaska PrideFest… and I’ll buy my Pride 2011 t-shirt from the good folks… who work so hard to organize Anchorage’s Pride celebration every year.

He’s absolutely right that we need to support queer-supportive merchants in our town, but the nationwide exposure that Old Navy could provide is worth supporting too.

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  • JoeyO'H

    I guess Old Navy isn’t so loud and proud are they?

  • djjcm

    Ugh, this is so not Queerty. This is mainstream and juvenile. I’d rather see a picture of Davey Wavey (and I hate Davey Wavey).

  • Mel Green

    Thanks for linking my story, Queerty! But one correction: I’m not a he, I’m a she! (Mel is short for Melissa.)

  • DavyJones

    @JoeyO’H: I gues you didn’t read the article did you?

    @djjcm: Really? I’ve yet to hear anything about this in any mainstream media; and juvenile?

  • JoeyO'H

    @ Davy Jones: I read the article well – Live proudly in only 26 stores out of over a thousand? That’s nothing to run to Old Navy about.

    Really? You’re not going to read about this in the mainstream media

  • JOez

    WOW Remember folks Old Navy is a business and apparently a business that is run by people who are supportive of the Gay an Lesbian community. Thats a wonderful thing. If they want to try this in only 26 stores or 1000 or just one its also a business decision. Get off the high horse its a step and a good one. “WE EXPECT MORE OF THEM” Please.

  • Jody

    Why are these not being made available online?

  • Matthew

    Isn’t this blatant exploitation of the gays? I mean if Old Navy felt strongly about this issue, they’d be everywhere.

  • Jarrod

    One thing that this article doesn’t point out is that the shirts are not ACTUALLY FOR SALE YET!

    Due to the Holiday Weekend, none of the stores on the East Coast have received their stock as of Wednesday afternoon.

  • Haley

    They should at least sell the shirts online.

  • KEW

    I spoke with a customer service rep. who was very positive about their shirts. I had commended them on selling them but expressed regret that I wouldn’t be able to buy them in Hawaii. She told me anyone can call any of the 26 stores AFTER JUNE 8TH could buy them over the phone and have them shipped. She then gave me the number to the three closest stores. Cudos to Old Navy!!!

  • jen

    i went to the flagship store on 34th street in NYC and they didn’t have them! and they weren’t sure when they arrive!

  • Fiona

    I didn’t see them on the Old Navy website either, or I’d have ordered one right now.

  • Tallnashguy


    I guess it is pretty main stream – my straight friend in knoxville let me know about it.

    And like most stores they have to test it before they hardcore market it.

  • shellie

    I resonate with Mel Green’s response. Supporting the “good folks” as he put it, or small business, as I would, is imperative. Especially when the bottom line of the corporate folks is $ – aka, if we can generate support for the shirts – thereby prove they won’t deal with any boycott or negative fallout, they’ll sell more. I started with my partner last year, and we committed to donating 30% of our profits to organizations fighting the good fight. Until our profits become more substantial, we decided to be even more active, and donate $5 of every Don’t Raise Bullies shirt to the Gay Straight Alliance Network, and join their active effort to make things better in schools. We have more whimsical adult items also sold on Etsy right now. There are many ways to show pride…

  • Mike in SLC

    That’s great that they are going to do that… too bad most of the places they don’t serve have their pride festivals early and June 8th won’t be early enough to get it in time… hell, for a lot of us that will be after the festival is done and over with.
    I emailed them letting them know why they lost my business forever, to be honest, their choice to not have a way to sell to me is a slap in the face… it’s like saying “we only care about you if you live somewhere that we feel we won’t run into controversy for caring”

  • scott

    Really Old Navy? First I think it’s great that you are even offer pride shirts. But you really need to fire your head of marketing. Next week June 10-13 is Pride fest here in Milwaukee, as we were not on the list of stores you missed out on huge sales. Oh well maybe next year.

  • BlogShag

    You should be glad they offered them in any of their stores. They’re ugly anyhow. Things have to start small.

  • christin carr

    So which 26 stores have them? I have been emailinng OldNavy and they stated that the Womans tees go on sale 2day and the babies and mens on wed….but they didn’t let me no which stores.


    I am SO SICK & TIRED of hearing about gay pride! It’s freaking everywhere! It’s really annoying when you hear the same thing over & over again!

    Think about if you had to listen to your algebra teacher talk about math 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week all year round! That’d get REALLY annoying!

    Old Navy should stay out of any & all politics. It’s bad business. Imagine if there were pro/against abortion! That too would raise hell.

    What’s next for Old Navy? Abortion shorts? Immigration sandals? Stem cell bikinis?

    I don’t care for ANY bias (liberal or conservative) & I don’t want to feel offended when I’m doing something simple as shopping. I’m an atheist & I don’t care for controversy. When I want to hear & see politics, I’ll watch CNN.

  • Joe

    I think it’s cool that Old Navy is doing something like this. I don’t know what the person above has up their ass, but I think it’s a good thing that they’re doing. I don’t know exactly where they live that they’re seeing gay pride everywhere lol. I also don’t know why they would get so offended by a t shirt. I do know that gay pride and rights are a whole different category than abortion and politics. I mean they might as well go yell at anyone who has an american flag on their shirt.

    But yeah, go Old Navy. I hope that with time it gets broader and they have more selection because I only see one shirt that I would actually buy and wear often. I wonder how other stores will react haha. Maybe they’ll do the same to look better. I mean hey, go for it, it’s still great that they’re giving 10%.

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