The Trump brand takes another hit: Sears and Kmart

The White House is banning Ivanka Trump's brand

north current Neiman Markus. TJMaxx. And now Sears and Kmart.

Sears Holdings, the company that owns Sears and Kmart retail stores, reportedly said this weekend that it would be removing 31 Trump-branded items from its website.

The company pulled the products as part of a plan to focus on its “most profitable items,” Sears spokesman Brian Hanover told Reuters.

Hanover told the news outlet that items from the Trump Home home furnishings line have been removed from the company’s website, although they are still available online through third-party vendors. Neither store carried the items in their physical stores, he said.

Searches on the Sears and KMart websites did not turn up any Trump Home products, except for those sold by third-party vendors.

In a statement Monday, spokesman Chris Brathwaite distanced Sears from political controversy and reiterated that many Trump-branded products are still available through third-party vendors.

“In this case, certain products were removed from our websites that contained a very small number of Trump products,” he said. “The headlines don’t do our business or this particular brand of product that we offer through our marketplace sellers justice.”

Brathwaite added that the company prefers to focus on its business and “leave politics to others.”

Related: Is Ivanka Trump’s brand losing its luster?

The move makes Sears the last to drop Trump-named products.

earlier this month, north current (JWN) cited brand performance, not politics, as the reason for the decision to no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories label.

President Trump knocked at the department store on Twitter in retaliation. Nordstrom stock rose 7% in the first two days after the tweet.

Other stores also tried to distance themselves from Ivanka Trump’s brand.

Neiman Marcus removed the brand’s landing page from its website and declined to tell CNNMoney whether it intended to keep Ivanka Trump products in stores or resume online sales in the future.

TJX company (TJX)the company, which owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls, also said it recently told workers not to highlight the first daughter’s brand in stores.

And retailer Belk said last week it plans to remove Ivanka Trump’s products from its website but will continue to offer the line in its flagship stores.

Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line has taken a hit in recent months.

According to Slice Intelligence, a retail analytics firm, their brand’s online sales in January fell 26% year over year. Slice studied the brand’s sales at five online stores: Nordstrom, Amazon, Zappos, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s.

Online sales of Ivanka’s brand had skyrocketed in late 2015, and last month’s numbers seem like more of a “return to reality,” according to Taylor Stanton, Slice’s marketing and communications manager. The brand’s performance slump was unusual given a surge in online sales in 2016 in the apparel and accessories category, said Jack Beckwythe, an analyst at Slice.

Related: Kellyanne Conway unrepentant for Ivanka Trump Plug

The Ivanka Trump brand has defended its performance.

Rosemary Young, Ivanka Trump’s senior director of marketing, told CNNMoney last week that the brand is growing and is experiencing “significant year-over-year sales growth in 2016.”

“We believe that the strength of a brand is measured not only by the profits it makes, but also by the integrity it maintains,” said Young.

retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Amazon (AMZN)mr & taylor, Macy’s (m) and Zappos all still carry Ivanka Trump products.

Ivanka Trump has taken a leave of absence from her eponymous company since her father won the presidency. She has no formal role in administration, but is expected to have a voice on issues such as women’s empowerment and childcare.

– CNNMoney’s Jackie Wattles contributed to this story.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 12, 2017: 3:35 pm ET The Trump brand takes another hit: Sears and Kmart

Olly Dawes

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