retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Baltimore Sun has a story about how Under Armour CEO/founder Kevin Plank this week had to take out a full-page advertisement in the paper to explain that while he'd told CNBC that he approved of President Donald Trump's pro-business approach, he also believes in personal and brand values that include "diversity, equal rights and opportunity."

Plank found himself under attack, primarily on social media, over the past week after he made the comments on CNBC. "Some consumers, many opposed to Trump's controversial executive order to suspend refugee admissions and temporarily bar travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries, vowed to boycott Under Armour sports apparel. Three of the brand's top athlete endorsers, including NBA star Stephen Curry, ballerina Misty Copeland and actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson tweeted opposition to Plank's comments, with Johnson calling his words 'divisive'."

However, others went on social media to support Plank's original comments.

In the ad, Plank wrote, "I personally believe that immigration is the foundation of our country's exceptionalism ... We are always mindful of the responsibility that we have to those who choose our brand, especially the young people who represent the bold and bright future of a diverse and inclusive America ... In a time of division, we aspire to be a force of unity, growth and optimism for our city and our country."

Plank, the Sun writes, pledged to support efforts to "expand the nation's manufacturing capacity and to see building focus on investments in technology, education and infrastructure in cities such as Baltimore." But he also "announced plans to join a coalition of companies in opposition to 'any new actions that negatively impact our team, our neighbors or their families'."

The Sun notes that Plank continues to sit "with other business executives on a manufacturing advisory panel assembled by Trump that is working to develop innovative ways to support American manufacturing."

USA Today reports that while a number of companies have decided not to carry Trump-branded products, allegedly because of poor sales, there remain a number of retailers that continues to carry a range of Ivanka Trump-brand clothing, shoes and accessories.

These include: 6pm, Amazon, Bloomingdale's, Bluefly, Bon-Ton, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Century 21, Dillard's, Hudson’s Bay, Saks OFF 5th, Lord and Taylor, Macy's,, Overstock, Perfumania, SteinMart, Walmart, and Zappos.

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that "chief executives from several major U.S. retailers, including Target Corp. , Best Buy Co. and Gap Inc., met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to lobby against a proposed tax plan that would hurt their profits."

The border adjustment tax being considered by GOP lawmakers ands the Trump administration would tax imports and exempt US products that are exported. This inevitably would lead to higher costs for retailers that sell imported products ranging from underwear to flat screen televisions and computers.

The Journal writes that "the executives left the White House meeting, which lasted less than an hour, saying it was productive but they gave few details about what was discussed. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted a photo with the group, calling it a 'great listening session'."

Trump continues to pledge that regulations that he views as inhibiting growth will be slashed, and that taxes will be lowered "for virtually everybody."
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