The announcement that Nordstrom would no longer carry first-daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line set off a series of unprecedented events in this country, most notably a POTUS tweeting about the business decisions of retail stores and a top White House adviser being reprimanded and possibly investigated for violating the law.
Last week, Nordstrom said it was ending its partnership with Ivanka Trump due to sales. Ivanka Trump said the line would remain in Nordstrom stores, but according to Nordstrom sources, the in-store holdings will be scaled back beginning this fall and online sales will be completely unavailable. On the Nordstrom website Friday morning, two pairs of shoes remained priced at 40 percent off.
This week, POTUS issued a tweet on the matter:
A day later, top White House advisor Kellyanne Conway appeared on “Fox & Friends” and told viewers to go buy Ivanka Trump clothing, a move which has since earned the Senior Counselor some “counseling” from the White House and bipartisan call for an investigation into whether she ran afoul of federal ethics laws for her comments:
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you,” said Conway on Fox & Friends. “I hate shopping and I’m gonna go get some myself today. It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully…I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
But the number of retailers selling Ivanka Trump merchandise online is rapidly decreasing. After Nordstrom pulled back from the brand, Neiman Marcus followed suit.
On Wednesday, Charlotte-based Belk stores issued a statement about Ivanka Trump clothing, which will now only be available in 22 flagship stores.
“We want to thank all of you who have reached out to express your views about Ivanka Trump branded merchandise sold by Belk. We welcome and pay close attention to feedback from our customers. 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. In this regard, we are no longer carrying Ivanka Trump branded merchandise on our website, but are continuing to offer the brand at our flagship stores.”
The Ivanka Trump clothing concerns have even reached other retail segments including off-price stores and resale stores.
TJX Companies, parent company of off-price retailers Marshall’s and TJ Maxx told the New York Times, that store employees have been directed to remove Ivanka Trump signs from stores. Any Ivanka Trump merchandise will be mixed in with other merchandise on the store racks, said the company representative.
The AJC received an unsolicited tip from a Goodwill thrift store employee who said some local stores were receiving huge donations of Ivanka Trump clothing and shoes from Atlantans who were clearing their closets of the brand. The employee said stores in certain parts of the metro area featured the items in a specially labeled section, but when an AJC reporter visited to the stores mentioned, there was no indication that Ivanka Trump merchandise was being advertised or marketed apart from other brands.
Through it all, Macy’s has been mum on the topic. While the nation’s largest department store chain dropped Donald Trump’s line in 2015, they have continued selling Ivanka Trump clothing both in-stores and online, and there is probably one major reason why — Macy’s shoppers are still buying it.
According to a recent report from Business Insider featuring data from analytics firm Jumpstart, in December and January, traffic to Ivanka Trump brand pages on the Macy’s website increased about 18%, while traffic to Ivanka Trump brand pages on Nordstrom’s website decreased 14% in the same period.
While website traffic doesn’t directly correspond to sales, it would support Nordstrom’s claims that their decision was based on sales instead of politics. And it would explain while Macy’s has not made any moves.
It is no secret that Macy’s has suffered from declining sales in recent months. In August, Macy’s announced it would be closing 100 stores nationwide. Last month the retailer released a list of 68 store closures and layoffs including one store in Athens, GA.