Ivanka Trump Brand Sales Slump

Special report via Racked

In February, after Nordstrom said that it no longer planned to stock Ivanka Trump products, there were a few big questions at the fevered intersection of politics and fashion. Should retailers let politics sway their buys? And, more practically, which stores would follow suit and dump the brand?

Nordstrom said that it was cutting ties with Ivanka Trump because of poor sales, but the label had also become a lightning rod for consumers’ feelings about the new president, simultaneously the target of boycotts and shopping sprees.

Numbers from the e-commerce aggregator Lyst show that growth in Ivanka Trump’s order volume peaked massively in February. That month, transactions for the brand were up a stunning 771 percent from February 2016.

Here we are in September, and that burst of interest has cooled significantly. Lyst says that Ivanka Trump’s order growth dropped to 288 percent in March, then to 114 percent in May, and then to 6 percent in July. By August, it was down negative 1 percent relative to last year.

According to the e-commerce tracking firm Edited, the rate of items selling out online at full price rose 32.8 percent for the overall US market between January and July. During the same time period, full-price sellouts were down 23.5 percent for the Ivanka Trump brand.

A spokesperson for the Ivanka Trump brand says that the company’s 2016 revenue was up 21 percent over 2015, and that it expects to see continued year-over-year growth this year.

Meanwhile, the new fall collections are now in stores, and the list of retailers selling Ivanka Trump merchandise is largely unchanged. Amazon, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s, and Zappos stock the brand. Saks Off Fifth doesn’t have any Ivanka Trump product listed on its site, but it carries it in stores. Belk stopped selling the brand online in February in favor of only stocking it in certain stores, and that’s still the case. After some back and forth, there’s no Ivanka Trump on Neiman Marcus’s site. Nordstrom hasn’t brought it back.

The national discussion about Ivanka Trump’s wholesale relationships has calmed down, but a conversation about its direct-to-consumer sales may take its place. Ivanka Trump is preparing to open a brick-and-mortar store this fall, which will be the only one of its kind and the company’s sole avenue for selling straight to its customers. (The products listed on the Ivanka Trump website simply link out to other retailers’ sites, where visitors can purchase them.)

For any brand, a new store is an opportunity to express without interference what it’s about and who its target shoppers are. For Ivanka Trump, such an occasion is made all the more important by the fact that for the last year, that narrative has been defined primarily by other retailers and by politics.

Ivanka Trump the brand is no longer supposed to be synonymous with Ivanka Trump the woman. To avoid ethics complaints while she works in Washington, Trump stepped down from her day-to-day role at the company ahead of her father’s inauguration in January, though she remains an owner. In a Refinery29 feature published in March, Ivanka Trump president Abigail Klem made it clear that the brand was working hard to distinguish itself from Trump. —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

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