The Trump brand takes another hit: Sears and Kmart

The White House connects Ivanka Trump's brand

Nordstrom. Neiman Marcus. TJ Maxx And now, Sears and Kmart.

Sears Holdings, the company that owns retail stores Sears and Kmart, said this weekend it would pull 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 organization that items from the Trump Home furniture line were removed from the company’s website, although they could still be purchased through third-party suppliers online. None of the stores carried the items in their physical stores, he said.

Searches of the Sears and KMart websites found no Trump Home products, except those sold by third-party sellers.

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

“In this case, certain products were removed from our websites that included a very small number of Trump products,” he said. “The headlines do not do justice to our business or this specific brand of products that we offer through our marketplace sellers.”

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 latest to drop products bearing the Trump name.

Earlier this month, Nordstrom (JWN) cited the brand’s “performance,” not politics, as the reason it decided to stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories label.

President Trump slammed the department store on Twitter in retaliation. Nordstrom shares rose 7% in the first two days after the tweet.

Other stores have also tried to distance themselves from the Ivanka Trump brand.

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

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

And retailer Belk said last week that it planned to pull Ivanka Trump’s products from its website but would continue to offer the line in its flagship stores.

Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories has seen success in recent months.

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

Online sales for Ivanka’s brand had been up at the end of 2015, and last month’s numbers appear to be more of a “return to reality,” according to Taylor Stanton, Slice’s marketing and communications manager. The drop in brand performance was abnormal in light of 2016’s surge in online sales in the apparel and accessories category, said Slice analyst Jack Beckwythe.

Related: Kellyanne Conway Has No Regrets About Ivanka Trump Plug

The Ivanka Trump brand has defended its performance.

Rosemary Young, senior director of marketing for Ivanka Trump, told CNNMoney last week that the brand was growing and experienced “significant year-over-year revenue growth in 2016.”

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

Stores like Bloomingdale’s, Amazon (AMZN)lord and taylor, macy’s (M) and Zappos still carry Ivanka Trump products.

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

— CNNMoney’s Jackie Wattles contributed to this story.

CNNMoney (New York) First published on February 12, 2017: 3:35 pm ET

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