Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter, said Tuesday that she is shutting down her namesake fashion brand amid drooping sales and her desire to focus on her role as a White House senior advisor.
Her line of moderately priced women’s apparel, shoes, handbags and other goods initially sold well during 2016 as the presidential election took shape.
But after the election, her brand was caught in the polarizing political debate, with Trump supporters buying the goods in solidarity with her father and Trump opponents calling for boycotts of her products.
In the meantime, Ivanka Trump’s merchandise was dropped by retailers such as Nordstrom Inc. due to flagging sales, but they continued to be carried by such national retailers as Macy’s Inc., the Lord & Taylor unit of Hudson’s Bay Co. and Amazon.com.
The products also were available at the firm’s website, IvankaTrump.com, which was still operating late Tuesday. A pink floral summer dress sold for $128; shoulder bags ranged from $74 to $198.
“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement.
Day-to-day management of the business, based at Trump Tower in New York, is led by company President Abigail Klem, and the firm’s largely female workforce reportedly totals 18 people.
Ivanka Trump, 36, who frequently wore her brand in public and at White House events, made more than $5 million from her company from January 2016 to March 2017, according to her financial-disclosure forms filed last year.
As a privately held firm, Ivanka Trump’s brand does not disclose sales or other financial information.
Apparel maker G-III Apparel Group Ltd. said sales of its Ivanka Trump-licensed products surged 61% to $47.3 million in the year ended Jan. 31, 2017, just as Trump was taking office, according to G-III’s most recent annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But sales faltered after that. Hudson’s Bay notified the Ivanka Trump brand in fall 2017 that it planned to phase out its merchandise based on its performance, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified source.
Also, online sales alone of the Ivanka Trump brand sold at Amazon, Zappos.com, Macy’s and Macy’s Bloomingdale’s unit tumbled 55% in the 12 months ended in June compared with a year earlier, according to Rakuten Intelligence, which analyzes e-commerce data.
“When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve,” Ivanka Trump said in her statement.
“I am beyond grateful for the work of our incredible team who has inspired so many women; each other and myself included,” she said. “While we will not continue our mission together, I know that each of them will thrive in their next chapter.”
Ivanka Trump’s brand became a lightning rod within weeks of Donald Trump taking over as president.
In early February 2017, Trump went on Twitter to criticize Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s fashion line, saying she “has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom.” The retailer said it was due to the brand’s performance, not politics.
Two days later, Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump aide, said “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” during a television interview, raising ethical and legal questions and prompting the White House to say Conway later was “counseled” about her comments.
In addition, the Washington Post reported in mid-2017 that Ivanka Trump’s merchandise, much like the apparel generally in the U.S. market, was made exclusively in foreign countries, conflicting with the Trump administration’s push for more jobs in the United States.
The report quoted Klem as saying that Ivanka Trump’s brand was exploring ways to produce some goods in the United States but that “to do it at a large scale is currently not possible.”
3:40 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting, including details of the brand’s prior sales and the firm’s role in political debate.
This article was originally published at 10:50 a.m.