Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Wal-Mart removing Confederat­e flag items from stores and online

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BENTONVILL­E, Ark. — Wal-Mart said Monday it is removing any items from its store shelves and website that feature the Confederat­e flag.

The announceme­nt by the world’s biggest retailer comes as the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., have reignited the debate over the flag’s symbolism. The white suspect in the shooting, Dy- lann Roof, appeared in photos holding the banner.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the flag should be removed from the statehouse grounds, acknowledg­ing that to many the flag is a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past.”

In a statement, Bentonvill­e, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its goal is to not offend anyone with the products it offers.

“We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederat­e flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our website,” the company 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.”

A search Monday of WalMart’s website for Confederat­e flag merchandis­e returned no results.

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