Ivanka Trump may have shown that any publicity is good publicity when it comes to selling fashion.
Despite a boycott and a decision by Nordstrom to no longer carry the brand, Ivanka Trump’s fashion line soared in online sales of individual items last month, according to a major e-commerce site.
Trump’s brand was in 11th place based on the number of items sold, according to Lyst, a fashion search engine that links shoppers with more than 12,000 retailers and designers. That represented a 346% leap in items sold from the previous month, when Trump’s line ranked 550th.
Because it is a private company, the Ivanka Trump brand does not disclose sales figures. But Abigail Klem, the brand’s president, says the line is performing better than ever.
“Since the beginning of February, they were some of the best performing weeks in the history of the brand,’’ Klem said in a statement. “For several different retailers, Ivanka Trump was a top performer online, and in some of the categories it was the...best performance ever.’’
The spike could represent a reaction to the headlines being generated around the brand throughout February.
It started when Nordstrom announced that it would no longer carry the Ivanka Trump line because of poor sales. Then President Trump responded with an angry tweet, accusing the retailer of treating his daughter unfairly. Presidential aide Kellyanne Conway also chimed in, encouraging watchers of the Fox News morning talk show Fox & Friends to buy the first daughter’s products.
The endorsement led federal ethics officials and lawmakers to say Conway may have breached government ethics rules. The White House’s deputy counsel later countered that Conway had done nothing “nefarious.’’
“The Ivanka Trump brand was largely featured in the news during February for multiple reasons and it would not be surprising if that resulted in increased sales.’’ Sarah Tanner, Lyst’s U.S. spokeswoman said in a statement.
Sales bounces appear to be bipartisan. She noted that during the presidential campaign, women's pantsuits experienced a 460% spike in searches, possibly because they were associated with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who often wore them and made reference to them.
But “whether this is a long-term trend remains to be seen.”
Ivanka Trump's strong sales and performance come in the midst of a campaign, dubbed #grabyourwallet, that is targeting retailers selling Trump family merchandise. Nordstrom has gone further than some of its peers, completely halting sales of Ivanka Trump’s line because of flagging sales. But some retailers, are distancing themselves from Ivanka Trump products, though not completely abandoning them.
Sears and Kmart, for instance, removed a small number of Trump-branded products from their websites last month, though they continued to offer hundreds of Trump and Ivanka Trump items online from third-party sellers. TJX, owner of Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, has instructed staff members to mix in Ivanka Trump products with other store merchandise rather than featuring it on its own. Those stores, however, continue to sell Ivanka Trump items.
Many more retailers continue to sell the Ivanka Trump Collection. The brand says that the fashion line is sold in more than 800 stores in the U.S., and plans are in the works for it to be carried by another 200 more. Brand revenue increased 21% in 2016 over the previous year.
According to Lyst, the top-selling Ivanka Trump products are women's heels and dresses. February was notable for other items, such as coats, knitwear, and flats, also seeing higher than normal sales.
So far this month, sales continue to be brisker than usual, the website says. But if the average number of daily transactions remains the same for the rest of March, sales will be just 8% higher than January, a significantly smaller uptick than the triple-digit increase seen last month.
"It is fair to say the excitement is waning,'' says Tanner.