A woman on TikTok has claimed that Coach intentionally slash unsold or returned handbags, despite preaching sustainability.
In a video, which has recently gone viral on the app, environmental activist Anna Sacks, known online as Trash Walker, showcases a selection of destroyed purses.
She revealed she had purchased them from another influencer, Dumpster Diving Mama, who found them in bins outside of a mall in Dallas, Texas.
Holding up an array of leather goods to the camera, she says: “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.”
She also added that: “And then they write it off as a tax write off under the same tax loophole as if it were accidentally destroyed.”
Coach has denied the tax-related part 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.”
Sacks, in the video which can be watched here, then went on to call out Coach for hypocrisy due to them claiming to care about the “circular economy” and “sustainability” on their site.
She then focuses on a screenshot of the website about the company’s commitment to repairing bags, which reads: “So don’t ditch it, repair it—it’s another small thing we can do to keep bags out of landfill and reduce our impact on the environment.”
The video, which has been watched 2.3 million times, has prompted outrage online with one person, Weeee, writing: “Coach purposely destroying products doesn’t sound very circular to me.”
Another social media user, Katschiller, added: “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 markdown.”
Ximenapm commented: “Was saving to get a coach bag for my mom’s birthday, we’ll be buying something else.”
Coach issued an apology on October 12, explaining on both Instagram and Twitter: “We always strive to do better and 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. #CoachNY.”
The brand also state that they have now “ceased destroying in-store returns of damaged and unsalable goods.”
Speaking to Forbes, Sacks described this as “a step in the right direction” but also went on to add that “it seemed deliberately limiting.”
The activist believes that the brand should pledge not to destroy their unsold and unsellable items, not just those that are returned.
Newsweek have contacted Sacks and Coach for comment.
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