Where does the Ivanka Trump brand go from here?

The Washington Post – Even if you’re not much of a fashionista, it’s been hard to miss the firestorm that has recently engulfed the Ivanka Trump brand. And foreboding signs are continuing to pile up: Panjiva, a global trade data company, says that imports of products that bear the Ivanka Trump name were 54.4 percent lower in the three months ended Jan. 31 compared with the three months that ended Sept. 30.

In the retail world, big questions are swirling: How exactly did the Ivanka Trump brand fall so hard, so fast – particularly in the Nordstrom ecosystem? And where does the brand go from here? Nordstrom says the plunge in sales of Ivanka Trump products became particularly pronounced in the back half of the year. This partly overlaps with the rise of Grab Your Wallet, which this autumn began urging shoppers to boycott retailers that carry goods affiliated with Trump family businesses.

The boycott is meant to send a message to retailers who do business with the Trumps, and to hit the Trumps where it hurts most: in their paychecks. The campaign also seeks to puncture President Trump’s image of his family as winners.

But legions of shoppers probably have been doing something much less tactical and premeditated. Imagine this scenario: A woman browses the dress department at Nordstrom, looking for something to wear to a job interview. She grabs an armful of frocks to take to the fitting room. She gives an Ivanka Trump fit-and-flare dress a glance, but ultimately leaves it on the rack.

Nordstrom shoppers probably bought Ivanka Trump merchandise precisely because it had been given the Nordstrom imprimatur. They turn to Nordstrom as a tastemaker, and when they found Ivanka Trump clothes there, they bought them. But they won’t necessarily miss them when they’re gone.

With smaller brands, “the balance of power is quite a bit different. Those brands are fighting for floor space,” said Hunter Harris, a vice president at consultancy Boston Retail Partners.

So if certain department stores don’t need Ivanka Trump, the brand has to figure out a way to change that – or it has to find another path to wide distribution.

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