Regional retailer Belk has eliminated Ivanka Trump-branded merchandise from its website, Racked reports. The move follows days after Nordstrom and its off-price Rack unit stopped orders for Ivanka Trump merchandise and Neiman Marcus dropped Ivanka Trump jewelry that had been for sale online; Macy’s is also under pressure to dump the first daughter’s brand, according to Business Insider.
Though Trump herself has stepped down from her eponymous company, brand representatives are pushing back against reports that Nordstrom has dropped Ivanka Trump merchandise, contending that the department store has ordered items for the new season and only erased them from its website, according to Teen Vogue.
Meanwhile, retailers continue to position themselves against President Donald Trump’s efforts to block travelers from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S. Nordstrom's co-president brothers, Peter, Erik and Blake Nordstrom, sent a memo to employees reminding them an immigrant founded the company, according to Refinery29. And LL Bean, which last month was roiled by comments by controversial Bean heir Linda Bean, has promised to help employees affected by the travel ban, with CEO Stephen Smith saying they could reach out to him directly, the Portland Press Herald reports.
Retailers, like any business in the position of serving consumers with a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints, are usually loathe to take positions that could alienate any demographic profile. But the controversial positions taken so far by the Trump administration, especially an executive order that had green card and visa holders held for hours in American airports across the country last week, are forcing retailers to take decisive steps.
The Ivanka Trump brand's pushback against Nordstrom in particular is a risky challenge to one of its most important channels, but puts the department store retailer in the hot seat. A request for comment from Retail Dive to Nordstrom was not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, several retail brands find themselves in the position of protecting not just their customers, which presumably include plenty of Muslim-Americans and Muslim immigrants and their friends and supporters, but also their employees. Last month Amazon, Nike, Starbucks and many other retailers and tech companies criticized the immigration ban and announced initiatives to protect employees affected by it.
Nordstrom, like Anheuser Busch in a vivid Super Bowl ad that showed German immigrant founder Adolphus Busch arriving in the U.S. to shouts that he should “go home,” reminded employees that its founder arrived as an immigrant intent on the American dream.
"When John W. Nordstrom came to the U.S. as an immigrant, he was given opportunities that allowed him to find a more prosperous and happy life," the letter to employees says, according to Racked. "In so many ways, our humble beginning and the work ethic and gratitude that goes with it helped shape the culture of our company to this day."