Ivanka Trump’s clothing collection had a banner year in 2016 even as efforts to boycott her wares gained prominence.
Ivanka Trump’s apparel saw wholesale revenue rise 61% to $47.3 million in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, according to the recently released annual report of G-III Apparel Group, which makes clothes for the first daughter and current presidential advisor’s company and other brands including Calvin Klein, Dockers, DKNY, Vince Camuto and Tommy Hilfiger. G-III also listed the Ivanka Trump merchandise among brands helping it increase its gross merchandise profit. The dollar figures do not reflect what her merchandise commanded at the retail level.
The election campaign, and subsequent win by her father, President Donald Trump, exponentially increased the niche brand’s visibility to the broader public. At the same time, that prominence stemmed in part from her large role in her father’s campaign, which polarized large swathes of the electorate and earned her a ton of criticism. The president was accused of misogyny and sexual assault as a candidate. Ivanka Trump herself earned some brickbats for being seen as using the campaign to promote her wares: at the Republican convention last summer, her company tweeted out a picture of her giving a speech and included information on where to could buy the outfit.
The Ivanka Trump merchandise’s performance stands in contrast to statements from upscale department store Nordstrom, which two months ago dropped her merchandise, citing weak sales. Other retailers, including T.J. Maxx, pulled back on carrying her merchandise and others like Neiman Marcus, dropped it altogether. What’s more much of her merchandise ended up in clearance bins at discount stores.
Still, it’s unclear how well her collection will do this year. It got a bump in February when defenders rallied to her brand in solidarity after the Nordstrom move. But her products are sold in fewer stores now, and Trump herself won’t be nearly as involved in the brand’s management now that she has taken an unpaid job in the government advising her father. One of the most vocal advocates of a boycott of her merchandise has been the grassroots “Grab Your Wallet” campaign, which maintains a list of retailers it recommended shoppers boycott.
And however impressive the growth, the brand remains tiny within G-III’s business: total company sales came to $2.39 billion last fiscal year, or barely 2% of revenue.