Claim:   Macy’s removed SodaStream products from its stores because the products are made in disputed territory in Israel.


PROBABLY FALSE


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]


Bowing to pressure from leftwing pro-Palestinian activists, Macy’s has decided to scrub Israeli-made SodaStream products from their shelves

 

Origins:   In October 2014, a rumor began to circulate that retailer Macy’s had “caved” to activist pressure and removed SodaStream products from its retail outlets and online storefront. Claims stated the removal of Sodastream products from Macy’s stores came under pressure from activist groups who objected to the manufacture of the products in disputed territory in Israel.

The rumor’s first major appearance came on 7 October 2014 in a larger Wall Street Journal article about SodaStream’s declining revenue. In the article, an analyst stated Macy’s had stopped carrying SodaStream but did not cite a specific reason for the retailer’s decision:



SodaStream released only its revenue expectations of $125 million and its projected operating income of $8.5 million. Those numbers shocked even the more bearish investors and analysts.

Jim Charnier, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt, said he had been expecting a poor quarter because he learned early in September that Macy’s Inc. had stopped carrying SodaStream and saw other negative figures from the market.

Yet he said that the company’s estimated revenue of $125 million and operating income of $8.5 million are still far below his expectations, as it shows that revenue in the U.S. could have dropped by more than 50%.

Macy’s did not immediately return requests for comment.


While the quote in context seems to imply poor sales influenced Macy’s decision to sever its relationship with SodaStream, it was not backed by any comment from Macy’s or SodaStream about why products made by the latter company were being discontinued by the retailer.

SodaStream’s CEO commented on tepid earnings reports and suggested in May 2014 a weak holiday sales season and excess inventory (not political sentiment) had adversely impacted the brand’s revenues:



CEO Daniel Birnbaum blamed the 28% drop in U.S. sales on a weak holiday season, creating excess retailer inventory. SodaStream’s guidance for the year wasn’t as bad as the company sees revenue growth of 15% for the year, but just a 3% improvement in net income. Both projections were better than analyst estimates but are reflective of SodaStream’s growing pains.

As of 24 October 2014, Macy’s website still displays an active product page for SodaStream, but none of the categories are populated with products available for sale. However, skincare company Ahava has also been the target of boycotts and calls for action for similar reasons, and Macy’s has not discontinued sale of that brand.

If Macy’s dropped SodaStream to placate pro-Palestinian interests in a public relations move, it’s highly unlikely the retailer would choose not to confirm its action. It is far more likely the overall weak market for home soda-making equipment influenced Macy’s decision to temporarily or permanently discontinue sales of SodaStream products. Neither company has yet officially commented on the status of Macy’s business relationship with SodaStream.

Last updated:   24 October 2014


Sources:




    Bowman, Jeremy.   “Macy’s and SodaStream Post Weak Sales as Dow Drops.”

    The Motley Fool.   14 May 2014.


    Farrell, Maureen.   “SodaStream Losing a Lot of Its Pop.”

    The Wall Street Journal.   7 October 2014.