Nordstrom will no longer sell merchandise from Ivanka Trump, daughter of controversial President Donald Trump, who markets apparel and accessories through her own eponymous brand, the retailer confirmed to Retail Dive on Friday.
Nordstrom's move follows a nationwide boycott effort from the Grab Your Wallet campaign, which has targeted some 40 retailers and brands supporting Trump family businesses. On Thursday, Grab Your Wallet said it would remove Nordstrom from its list “once the small handful of remaining items are no longer for sale.” A search for the brand on Nordstrom’s website Friday morning found just four Trump shoe styles available for purchase, all marked down, while seven styles of footwear sold via off-price unit Nordstrom Rack were available at 60% off or more.
Nordstrom co-president Pete Nordstrom in November said that the company aims to be politically “agnostic” and would make merchandising decisions based on sales; the retailer emphasized Friday that its decision to halt sales of the line is based on exactly those factors.
Boycotts have a mixed record of influence because they can inflame consumers on both sides of an issue, but the Grab Your Wallet campaign (so named after a controversial remark by Donald Trump caught on tape and released during the campaign) has seen some traction. The group lists retailers and brands to frequent as well as businesses to boycott, notifies followers when companies have been added or dropped as targets, and gives its reasons for its moves.
Pete Nordstrom in November acknowledged that any decision Nordstrom made in response to pressure to drop Trump-branded products could alienate customers, and took pains to note that the company would be basing its decisions on consumer interest rather than political action. “We hope that offering a vendor’s products isn’t misunderstood as us taking a political position; we’re not,” Nordstrom said in November, according to Bloomberg. “We recognize our customers can make choices about what they purchase based on personal views, and we’ll continue to give them options.” (Of course, consumer interest can reflect political action, but Nordstrom wants no part of that.)
"We've said all along we make buying decisions based on performance," a Nordstrom spokesperson told Retail Dive by email. "We’ve got thousands of brands – more than 2000 offered on the site alone. Reviewing their merit and making edits is part of the regular rhythm of our business. Each year we cut about 10% and refresh our assortment with about the same amount. In this case, based on the brand’s performance we’ve decided not to buy it for this season."
Brands are in a tight spot when it comes to political stances, but evidence does suggest that consumers want companies to take a stand. A 2016 study by policy and communications firm Global Strategy Group found that 84% of Americans believe that businesses have a responsibility to bring social change on important issues, 79% agreed that corporations can succeed at business while also taking a stance on an important issue and 72% believe taking a stance on important issues can help a company’s bottom line.
“There is no longer a disconnect — at least in the public mindset — between driving profit and doing ‘good,’” Tanya Meck, partner and co-lead at Global Strategy Group’s Corporate Impact project, said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. “This has incredible implications for companies’ [corporate social responsibility] programs.”