Fur is going out of style at Saks Fifth Avenue — for good.
The swanky retailer said Wednesday its 40-store chain will close its 27 fur salons and fur departments by January 2022 and that it will phase out all apparel that contains mink, fox, chinchilla, sable, coyote and beaver by January 2023.
“We evaluate a number of factors when making decisions about our assortment, including customer preferences and societal shifts,” chief merchandising officer Tracy Margolies said in a statement. “We recognize that trends constantly evolve, and that the sale of fur remains a significant social issue. As such, eliminating it from our assortment is the right step for us to take at this time.”
Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom have all eliminated fur from their stores over the past year, with Macy’s closing its 34 Fur Vaults last year and Bloomingdales — which is owned by Macy’s — closing its 22 Maximilian salons. Nordstrom took its ban a step further by banning products made from the skins of alligators, crocodiles, pythons, kangaroos and ostrich.
California became the first state in 2019 to pass legislation banning the sale of fur. Other states including New York have looked at the issue.
Saks said it will work with vendors that make products from fur over the next year to determine how to apply its new policy, which will also apply to all products sold on Saks.com.
Animal rights groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States — which worked with Nordstrom on its animal policy — have made significant inroads in the fashion industry in recent years. They have pressured a number of major brands including Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Coach, Farfetch, Giorgio Armani and Gucci, all of which have dropped fur from their clothing and accessory lines.
But the fur industry on Wednesday blasted Saks for the move, and predicted it will lead to the retailer being pressured over other animal-based products, like leather.
“Sadly they have decided to listen to animal activists who don’t represent the wider public,” International Fur Federation CEO Mark Oaten said. “By following the activists’ agenda Saks will soon have to ban wool and leather and silk.”
It’s unclear, for example, how the retailer will handle Canada Goose coats that carry coyote trim on the hoods.
Last year, Canada Goose said it will stop using fur from freshly killed coyotes by 2022 amid aggressive campaigning by PETA. At that time, its pricey parkas will only carry so called reclaimed coyote fur that come from used products.
Saks also sell goods made from sheep and goat skins, including shearling coats, and apparel made from pony and calf hair as well as coats and bedding stuffed with goose down feathers and leather products, the company said.