Stores have been caught up in a hide and seek game with Ivanka’s products. The controversy started back in March after several retailers were caught up in the political crossfire. Such include Bed Bath & Beyond which used to sell Ivanka Trump’s diaper bags in various prints on its vast online store. The listings disappeared abruptly after a customer service representative said at the time that the retailer no longer sold the first daughter’s merchandise.
The announcement marked the victory for activists who were against President Trump. In response, Ivanka and Trump’s supporters lashed out to challenge the inappropriate move. Bed Bath & Beyond then decided to make sure that Ivanka’s wares could still be found in some stores.
Belk’s website was also tangled up in the controversy after it eliminated Trump’s products. Sometime in February, the company told customers the decision was part of normal business operations and that Trump’s line was available at its three flagship stores. Ivanka’s products also no longer appear on the website of Burlington Coat Factory, despite being available in its physical stores. The same case for Saks Off 5th and Stein Mart.
TJ Maxx and Marshall’s which are owned by TJX Cos. went to the extremes by sending a note to employees instructing them to take down signs bearing the Ivanka Trump name and logo. The Trump wares were also removed from special featured displays and mixed into the regular racks. The note emphasized that all Ivanka Trump signs should be discarded. After a short while, the company assured customers that it would continue to sell her merchandise in its stores.
The stores have been claiming that business is as usual. However, activists and industry observers disagree with the claims. Since online assortments are much larger than what’s on the racks, not the other way around. Ivanka Trump’s brand spokesman made a statement saying that the brand has no control over how its products are merchandised, and that rotating product from online to in-store is typical.
The co-founder of Grab Your Wallet, Shannon Coulter, said that stores are probably trying to neutralize any public-relations problems by removing her name from their websites. However, hiding or downplaying the existence of Trump goods doesn’t fool consumers. Grab Your Wallet continues to boycott retailers that sell Ivanka Trump’s brand in any capacity.
The majority of the retailers have been simply silent. None of those that removed Ivanka Trump from their websites have said whether the brand will return there.
The controversy can be traced back in November when Ivanka’s father won the election. Ivanka Trump brand products started vanishing from such big-name retailers as Nordstrom Inc., Neiman Marcus, and ShopStyle.
The anti-Trump activists called for boycotts against anyone who sold her family’s products, while Trump supporters called for boycotts of anyone who stopped selling them. Back in February, Nordstrom revealed that it would stop selling her line.
The store was blasted by President Trump on his Twitter feed, where he wrote that his daughter was being treated so unfairly. The White House adviser, Kellyanne Conway, a White House adviser also defended the first daughter in a television appearance, delivering what she called a free commercial.
Ivanka Trump has formal roles in the Trump administration. She has distanced herself from the brand, she announced earlier this year that she was handing day-to-day management to top lieutenant Abigail Klem. However, it turns out that Ivanka Trump’s fashion line has confirmed a sales boom, proving that her First Daughter status has so far only helped her brand.
The brand has defied its critics by posting a 61% increase in wholesale revenues despite a turbulent year in the press and a boycott from consumers backing the #GrabYourWallet campaign.
Based on G-III Apparel Group, which manufactures the First Daughter’s brand items, its annual statement noted that sales of Ivanka Trump licensed products rose to $47.3million in the year ending 31st January 2017. The reports are totally different from what department stores such as Nordstrom cited.