S.C. lawmakers agree to debate removing rebel flag

Seanna Adcox, Jeffrey Collins and Jonathan Drew
Associated Press

Columbia, S.C. — Even as national retailers pull Confederate flags from shelves and websites after the shooting, manufacturers that produce the divisive symbol say that sales have seen an uptick.

"I don't sell the Confederate flag for any specific group, I just sell the flag," said Kerry McCoy, owner and president of Arkansas' FlagandBanner.com. "This is America. Everybody has a right to be represented whether you are a history buff or a nut."

McCoy said her company expects to sell about 50 of the flags over the next week. That's about half of what they typically sell in a year.

Sears, eBay, Amazon and Etsy said Tuesday that they would remove Confederate flag merchandise from their websites. Sears does not sell the merchandise inside Sears or Kmart stores.

"There's no upside for any retail brand associated with sales of the Confederate flag," said Allen Adamson, managing director at brand research firm Landor Associates. "This is a potato that's too hot to handle."

A wave of merchandise bans came a day after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that it would remove all Confederate-themed items from its store shelves and website after the South Carolina shooting suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, appeared in photos holding the flag.

Other national retailers say they do not sell, or never have sold, Confederate items.