Economy First Look

Will Macy's become the next store to drop the Ivanka Trump brand?

You won't find Donald Trump-brand clothes in Macy's. Some want the same to apply for his daughter's clothing line.

Ivanka Trump-branded blouses and trousers are seen for sale at off-price retailer Winners in Toronto.
Chris Helgren/Reuters
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An online boycott of Trump-family products is turning its sights on Macy's, with social-media users calling on the department-store chain to stop selling items from Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

In posts on Macy's Facebook wall and in Twitter posts directed to the company, users threatened to stop shopping at the chain.

"I have been a loyal Macys customer for over 30 years, but I will no longer purchase anything from Macys until they stop selling Ivanka Trump merchandise," wrote one Facebook user

Pressure from the "Grab Your Wallet" boycott has built following announcements last week from Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus that they would be discontinuing sales of items from Ms. Trump's brand, citing reasons related to the brand's performance.

“We’ve got thousands of brands,” a Nordstrom spokesperson told the Seattle Times last week. “Each year we cut about 10 percent 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.”

Hours after the announcement, the high-end department store Neiman Marcus removed Trump’s jewelry line from its website, saying the decision was made based on “productivity,” according to Racked.

But many suspect that the decisions respond to political pressure from members of the public, as The Christian Science Monitor's Josh Kenworthy noted last week.

“This is a sharply divisive subject,” said Nordstrom co-president Pete Nordstrom in an email to employees back in November, according to the Monitor. “No matter what we do, we are going to end up disappointing some of our customers. Every single brand we offer is evaluated on their results – if people don’t buy it, we won’t sell it.”

The Ivanka Trump fashion line says the first daughter's brand is performing strongly.

“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 Young, senior director of marketing at Ivanka Trump, said in a statement on Friday, according to Business Insider. “We believe that the strength of a brand is measured not only by the profits it generates, but the integrity it maintains.”

In January, Ivanka Trump announced she would step down from the executive role in her namesake fashion company after her father’s inauguration, in an apparent attempt to fend off conflict-of-interest controversy. But some see the name brand as being inevitably linked to her father's ideology.

“The success of Ivanka’s brand means more than immediate material wealth to the Trump family,” Slate’s Christina Cauterucci wrote on Monday. “Retailers that promote her products give her neutral, apolitical visibility. They give some measure of legitimacy and credibility to the family name, further enabling the overlap between national interests and the business interests of the president’s family.”

Macy's has come under pressure to cut ties with the Trump family’s retail businesses before. In 2012, when President Trump questioned former President Barack Obama’s citizenship, progressive media-monitor group Media Matters collected more than 615,000 signatures on a petition asking Macy’s to drop Mr. Trump’s clothing line. The department store refused, saying it was Trump’s right to express his beliefs.

“Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy’s – or at any retailer, for that matter – express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren wrote in a statement at that time. “That is the nature of a free society.”

However, this stance changed when Trump became a candidate. After making controversial claims about Mexican immigrants in 2015, Macy’s stopped selling his menswear line, which includes ties, suits, and accessories.

Macy’s may also be facing internal pressure from some of its employees to follow the other companies' lead, according to Business Insider.

"Hopefully they stop," one internal source told the site. "They can't lose any more money than they already are."