You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Coach says it will stop destroying and dumping unsold bags after a viral TikTok exposed the practice

Business Insider India logo Business Insider India 2 days ago Maria Noyen
Coach says it will stop destroying and dumping unsold bags after a viral TikTok exposed the practice © REUTERS Coach says it will stop destroying and dumping unsold bags after a viral TikTok exposed the practice
  • Luxury retailer Coach was exposed for destroying unsold items in a viral Tiktok posted on Saturday.
  • In the video, activist Anna Sacks showcases bags bought from a dumpster diver with slashes in them.

Luxury retailer Coach said it will stop slashing and dumping "unsalable" merchandise in an Instagram statement on Tuesday after the practice was exposed in a viral TikTok.

On Saturday, TikToker and waste reduction and diversion expert Anna Sacks, who runs the popular Instagram account @thetrashwalker, posted an unboxing video on TikTok showcasing a haul of Coach purses.

In the video, 30-year-old Sacks tells viewers she bought the merchandise, which all appear to have slash marks, from Texas-based TikToker Tiffany Sheree who resells items she finds dumpster diving.

"They're all slashed, which is Coach's policy," she says in the TikTok, which has gotten over 2.4 million views at the time of writing. "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 tax loophole as if it were accidentally destroyed."

Sacks then goes on to call out the brand for its public-facing stance toward sustainability. "According to their website, they really care about the circular economy and they really care about sustainability," she says, pointing out a slogan on Coach's website that reads: "Don't ditch it, repair it."

Sacks told Insider she became aware of Coach's dumping practices in 2020 while putting together a TikTok series called "Retail Made Me," in which former industry staff shared their experiences of being asked to destroy a brand's merchandise.

A post shared by Anna Sacks (@thetrashwalker)

Coach's actions were "especially egregious because of their claims about sustainability and circular economy," Sacks said.

Following the criticism, Coach published a statement via Instagram saying it is committed to sustainability. It reads: "We have now ceased destroying in-house returns of damaged and unsalable goods and are dedicated to maximizing such products reuse in our Coach Re(Loved) and other circularity programs."

"We will continue to develop and implement solutions to responsibly repurpose, recycle, and reuse excess or damaged products," the statement added.

A post shared by Coach (@coach)

Tapestry, Coach's parent company, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In a statement to Fashionista.com on Tuesday, a Coach spokesperson said the brand is "committed to leading with purpose and embracing our responsibility as a global fashion brand to effect real and lasting change for our industry," before saying the products being destroyed in-house represented "less than 1% of global sales."

Joon Silverstein, Head of Digital and Sustainability for Coach, also told WWD on Tuesday: "It's unfortunate these posts came out now, because we had been doing this thoughtfully."

The company's response is "limited" and deflects from the issue she was raising, according to Sacks. "It's focused on the in-store returns," she told Insider, which is a "portion of what they destroy."

"It doesn't include if they have inventory that comes in and they see that the stitching is not up to their standards, they will still destroy that," she added. "If something is in-store and it gets scratched, that might also not live up to their standards so they'll destroy that."

Sacks said Coach has not contacted her yet, but that she would be "happy to have a conversation with them."

"I recognize that they're not the only company that does this," she added.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon