If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Footwear News may receive an affiliate commission.
Coach made headlines this week from a widespread TikTok video that claimed the luxury brand damaged excess products to prevent them from being resold — and also used them as tax write-offs.
Though the discarded products in the video weren’t excess stock and are actually damaged customer returns, the video has since gone viral. Over the last several days, the clip from Anna Sacks — known as “The Trash Walker” on TikTok — has amassed over 2 million views. In light of the incident, Coach has issued a statement related to the claims.
“We have now ceased destroying in-store returns of damaged, defective, worn and otherwise unsalable goods that are not able to be donated and are dedicated to maximizing such products reuse in our Coach (Re)Loved and other circularity programs,” the brand stated today. “The damaged product that was being destroyed in stores, represents approximately 1% of units globally.”
The majority of Coach’s excess inventory is donated to support low-income families, as well as individuals re-entering education programs or the workforce. So far, in 2021, the brand has donated over $55 million in products to the cause.
The brand has also confirmed that it isn’t claiming tax benefits for “unsalable” in-store returns that couldn’t be donated.
Though Coach’s previous company policy was to destroy products to prevent fraudulent returns, the brand launched the Coach (Re)Loved program to address the issue. Through the program, Coach refurbishes, repairs and repurposes products that can’t be sold to “give [them] a second life.” These are sourced from damaged returns, as well as used or worn products that customers trade in to the brand. As of Monday evening, the process to send these products to Coach’s Repair Workshop has been raised to 100% of stores — though the process has been limited in the past from the ability to find and train craftspeople for the task.
Earlier this fall, Tapestry— the parent company for Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman — also announced a pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.