Nordstrom and Ivanka. Does it matter?
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 February 2017
There are bigger issues for Nordstrom than Ivanka Trump
Anger and applause has greeted Nordstrom deciding to no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s brand of apparel. You’re pissed if you support President Trump. If you’re not, you’re clapping.
But is it that simple? Was Nordstrom’s decision politically motivated? And does anyone reall care?
“Any elimination of a high-selling brand for political reasons would be stupid and, frankly, incompetent.”
I have my doubts. Like most retailers, Nordstrom is experiencing falling sales and stock prices, although it will report new quarterly sales next week. The news isn’t expected to be all that great, which means Nordstrom must cling to any increase in sales that it can get from anywhere.
Including from Ivanka Trump.
We’ll get a sense then how sales are performing. We probably won’t get a clear picture on the effect of discontinuing Ivanka’s products, but it might be addressed in the conference call. Nordstrom maintained that it stopped selling her products because of their low sales.
Most retailers are stepping in the quicksand of a failing retailer market. So, any elimination of a high-selling brand for political reasons would be stupid and, frankly, incompetent.
Where does Nordstrom do now?
However, in today’s political climate, perception is more powerful than reality. Whether brands like it or not, many of us perceive them through a political lens. Uber found itself in the muck when its leadership served on Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, as did the CEO for Under Armour.
Does any of that affect sales? That is, are the protests or support really affecting buying behavior?
My guess is that they’re not. I don’t see anyone boycotting Amazon because it sells Ivanka Trump apparel. There might be brief rises and dips with Nordstrom but changing buying behavior goes deeper than a political stance. Brands survive because of their emotional attachment to consumers, who see themselves in that brand. Without it, consumers fill in the gap – which is why a political stance may temporarily come into play.
No, the problem with Nordstrom is not whether it carries Ivanka’s clothing or not. Being a house of apparel brands is fine. As long as the parent brand (Nordstrom) is strong enough to create preference. Right now, it’s not. Nor do many of the brands of its competitors.
The problem is not Ivanka Trump. The problem is the lack of meaning for the Nordstrom brand.
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