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Macy’s & Belk Caught in Battle of Purse vs Politics Over Ivanka Trump

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Ivanka Trump’s brand continues to be a lightening rod for both protestors and advocates of the president.

The brand has been the target of a public outcry, led by the #GrabYourWallet social media campaign, designed to pressure retailers into severing ties with Ivanka Trump’s eponymous footwear, jewelry and apparel collections.

Though no retailer has credited the movement for swaying its decision making, both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have dropped the product line thus far. Now the products have disappeared from Belk’s site and protestors are lobbying Macy’s to prioritize politics over purse strings.

For its part, Nordstrom issued a statement last week clarifying that its decision to drop the line was based solely on product performance. Yesterday, the retailer was forced to address the issue for a second time after news reports surfaced conflating the company’s compassionate response to the president’s executive order banning immigrants from specific countries with its decision to drop the First Daughter’s collection.

The letter, which was obtained by The Stranger newspaper in Seattle, reads, in part: “We literally have thousands of employees who are first and second generation immigrants. Every one of your unique qualities brings a richness that allows us to better reflect and serve the multi-cultured communities we’re a part of and ultimately makes us a better company. We are a better place with you here, no doubt about it.”

It continues: “It’s important that we reiterate our values to all of you and make it clear that we support each of our employees. We will continue to value diversity, inclusion, respect, and kindness…you can count on that.”

A Nordstrom spokesperson reiterated yesterday that the buying decision was not based on the company’s social stance. However, Donald Trump is not satisfied. The President tweeted in his daughter’s defense this morning:

Nordstrom is not the only department store in a PR conundrum over the label. After receiving a tip from the #GrabYourWallet organizer, Racked.com called out Belk for pulling Trump products from its site. In response, the department store chain echoed Nordstrom, stating that sales not appearances drove its buying decision. “We continually review our assortment and the performance of the brands we carry. And we make adjustments as part of our normal course of business operations,” read an email message from a Belk spokesperson provided to various media outlets.

Trump items are still available in Belk stores for now, however.

In the meantime, Macy’s is the latest retailer in the crosshairs with detractors taking to social media to warn the chain that it’s Ivanka Trump or them. At the same time, Trump supporters have been equally vocal.

Maria Henly wrote on the store’s Facebook wall:

“I have been a Macy’s, (formerly Dayton’s, yeah, I’m a very long time customer!!) but the fact that you are still carrying Ivanka Trump products after the shameful campaign and now the shameful behavior by Donald Trump (Der Trumpenfuhrer) is prompting me to say: ‘I am done with you!!'”

On the other side of the issue was Shelli Bullard Trowbridge, who wrote:

“Bye Macy’s your to [sic] cowardly to do the right thing, so you punish the Presidents daughter. In this country we are no longer allowed the freedom to have different opinions.”

In the midst of all of this, the Ivanka Trump brand, which is no longer headed by its namesake, puts on a positive face.

“The Ivanka Trump brand continues to expand across categories and distribution with increased customer support, leading us to experience significant year-over-year revenue growth in 2016,” Rosemary K. Young, Ivanka Trump’s senior director of marketing, said in a statement on Friday. “We believe that the strength of a brand is measured not only by the profits it generates, but the integrity it maintains.”

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