Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Business

Sears, Kmart join other retailers in dropping Trump-branded items

The list of companies dropping products that carry the Trump name grew this weekend, with two major U.S. retailers announcing that they're no longer selling Trump Home items online.

Reuters reported Saturday that Sears Holdings and subsidiary Kmart will discontinue online sales of 31 items from the Trump Home collection, which includes lines of living room and bedroom furniture, lamps and chandeliers.

Brian Hanover, a spokesman for Illinois-based Sears Holdings, said the decision was made "amid a streamlining effort," Reuters reported.

"As part of the company's initiative to optimize its online product assortment, we constantly refine that assortment to focus on our most profitable items," Hanover said, adding that neither Sears nor Kmart carry Trump Home products in their retail stores.

Hanover didn't respond to a call and email from the Washington Post on Sunday. The Trump Organization also has not responded to an inquiry from the Post.

It's unclear which 31 Trump Home items will be removed from the companies' online stores.

As of Sunday, 14 Trump Home products remain on the Sears website, all but one listed with discounted prices. A $942 Trump Home mirror is being sold for $628. Another mirror with an original selling price of $818 is now at $598.

Only two Trump Home lamps were on Kmart's website Sunday, both with significantly lower prices.

The news comes shortly after other retailers decided to partially or completely distance themselves from the Trump brand.

In the past week or so, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Belk stopped selling Ivanka Trump's name-branded line of clothing, shoes and jewelry amid an aggressive campaign to boycott the Trump brand.

None of the companies have directly addressed the campaign, called Grab Your Wallet, which has been urging shoppers to boycott retailers that carry products with the Trump name. But their statements suggest that the move was driven by consumer feedback and how well the products sell.

Nordstrom, for instance, said the company's decision was based on the products' performance, not politics.

"Over the past year, and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn't make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now," Nordstrom said in a statement.

Belk said in a statement on Wednesday that the company is no longer selling Ivanka Trump-branded merchandise online, though it continues to sell the products at its stores.

"We welcome and pay close attention to feedback from our customers," the company said in the statement. "We continually review our assortment and the performance of the brands we carry. We make adjustments as part of our normal course of business operations."

Neiman Marcus has made a similar statement, saying the company assesses brands "based on productivity."

The Grab Your Wallet campaign began in October after the Post obtained a 2005 video that showed President Trump, then a candidate, bragging during a taping of "Access Hollywood" about groping women. The campaign's founder, Shannon Coulter, posted a message on Twitter criticizing Nordstrom for doing business with Ivanka Trump.

Citing internal Nordstrom data, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that sales of Ivanka Trump's fashion line dropped by about 32 percent last fiscal year. Sales of the first daughter's products were more than 70 percent lower in the second, third and fourth weeks of October compared with the same time last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Not long after Nordstrom dropped his daughter's product line, Trump lashed out on Twitter, saying the retailing giant had been unfair:

"My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!"

White House press secretary Sean Spicer and counselor Kellyanne Conway have rushed to the first family's defense.

Spicer said during a briefing on Wednesday that Nordstrom's decision was "a direct attack" on the president's policies and on his daughter's name.

Conway appeared to have crossed ethical lines when she plugged Ivanka Trump's products during an interview on Fox News Channel.

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff is what I would tell you," Conway said, adding, "I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."

The endorsement appeared to violate an ethics rule barring federal employees from using their public office to endorse products. The White House later said that Conway had been "counseled."

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