Walmart and Sears said they would stop selling products bearing the Confederate flag, days after a white gunman shot nine people dead at a historically black South Carolina church.
The move by the major retailers came the same day South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called on lawmakers to take down the Confederate battle flag at the state capitol grounds, and a Mississippi lawmaker called for the removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag.
Dylann Roof, the alleged gunman, posed with the flag in photos posted to a website believed to be his.
“We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our website,” Walmart said. “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell. Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances.”
At one point on Monday, Walmart's website still showed flags and merchandise carrying the flag available for purchase but by late evening, a search of Walmart's website for Confederate flag merchandise returned no results. But Miississippi state flags, which feature the Confederate battle emblem in one of its corners, were available.
Sears, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, does not sell Confederate flags at its stores and on Monday decided to remove sales of Confederate flag merchandise by third parties on its website, said spokesman Chris Brathwaite.
“We are in the process of scrubbing our marketplace to pull those items down,” Brathwaite said. On Monday night, the site featured flags in various sizes, and merchandise bearing the symbol but there were no matches for “Confederate flag” on the Kmart site.
A search on Amazon.com found Confederate flags and merchandise featuring flag designs sold by third parties on Amazon's website. Amazon itself did not appear to be selling the flags or related items.
The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ebay showed thousands of Confederate flags and related items — from nail decals to bowling balls — offered by third-party sellers on its web site. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
Al Jazeera with wire services