Coach fashion brand is accused of intentionally slashing unsold bags so no can use them
Luxury fashion brand Coach has been accused of deliberately slashing its unsold, damaged or returned designer leather goods and dumping them so that nobody can use them.
Environmental activist Anna Sacks from New York, known as The Trash Walker on TikTok, sparked a furious backlash against the brand after posting a video showing off the slashed goods she had purchased from another activist, who originally found them in a bin outside a mall in Dallas.
The influencer who has 296,500 TikTok followers and documents her walks around the city picking up food and belongings that have been dumped that are in perfectly good condition, said: ‘This is what they do with unwanted merchandise, they order an employee to deliberately slash it so no one can use it.’
It’s not uncommon for upmarket brands to destroy excess stock in this way. In 2018, it was reported that Burberry destroyed more than £28 million in unwanted products in the space of a year in a bid to stop counterfeiters selling their goods to the ‘wrong people’ on the ‘grey market’.
The social media influencer also accused Coach of hypocrisy because of its repair, programme which encourages consumers to fix their leather goods rather than throwing them away.
In a statement to Femail, Coach said it has committed to stop destroying damaged goods, which have been returned in-store and cannot be sold, to maximize their reuse.
Coach have stopped destroying unsalable goods after environmental activist Anna Sacks, also known as The Trash Walker, (L-R) accused the brand of slashing and throwing away merchandise for profit in a video posted on social media
Showing off the damaged goods, which had been returned in-store, in a TikTok video, Anna said: ‘As you can see they’re all slashed which is Coach’s policy.
‘This is what they do with unwanted merchandise, they order an employee to deliberately slash it so no one can use it and then they write it off as a tax write off, under the same loophole as if it was accidentally destroyed.’
Coach have denied this in a statement, saying: ‘The company is not claiming any tax benefits for in-store returns that are unsalable and not able to be donated that were destroyed in store’.
Previously, high-street retail giant H&M admit to burning unwanted stock to help power Vastera, a small Swedish city.
Showing off the damaged goods including bags, purses and shoes, in a TikTok video, Anna said: ‘As you can see they’re all slashed which is Coach’s policy
The practice is common because brands, particularly high end labels, do not want their products to be sold at discount rates elsewhere, or by the ‘wrong’ type of people on the ’emerging grey market’, thus devaluing the brand.
Grey markets are where goods are traded unofficially, without having been obtained from the manufacturer or without their consent.
In her video, Anna also accused Coach of hypocrisy, for promoting its sustainable to credentials to customers.
A statement on the Coach website reads: ‘If your bag is broken or worn, don’t chuck it, repair it! We offer a one-year warranty on our leathergoods for all quality defects.
The social media influencer also accused the brand of hypocrisy because of their repair programme which encourages consumers to fix their goods rather than throwing them away
‘After that, the wonderful craftspeople at our very own repair shop will work their magic for anywhere between $45 and $110.
‘We offer this service for all Coach leathergoods (excluding Coach Outlet), no matter when they were purchased (hand-me-downs: we love them).’
Instagram users were quick to comment on the post, with one writing: ‘This makes me what to throw up. Yah, you keep green-washing your policies Coach! That’s just great.’
A third wrote: ‘Why don’t they just heavily mark it down?! We all know markup on these items is insane and they’d still make money even after the markdown.
Instagram users were quick to comment on the post, with one writing: ‘This makes me what to throw up. Yah, you keep green-washing your policy’s Coach! That’s just great’
Another said: ‘Why can’t they donate to a shelter? Women and men who are homeless and are looking for jobs, need some items that are professional looking and nice.’
In a statement, Coach said: ‘At Coach, we are committed to leading with purpose and embracing our responsibility as a global fashion brand to effect real and lasting change for our industry.
‘We have now ceased destroying in-store returns of damaged, defective and otherwise unsalable goods and are dedicated to maximizing such products reuse in our Coach (Re)Loved and other circularity programs. The damaged product that was being destroyed in stores, represents approximately 1 per cent of units globally.
‘The vast majority of our excess inventory is donated and, in FY21, we donated product valued at over $55 million to support low-income families, individuals in need, those re-entering the workforce and education programs.
‘We continue to make significant strides and have been developing and implementing solutions to responsibly repurpose, recycle, or reuse excess or damaged products.’