The 15 Percent Pledge is an organization with the goal of convincing retailers to offer at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. The number was chosen because approximately 15% of the American population is Black. A modest number of retailers have taken the “pledge.” However, America’s largest retailers remain missing.
Currently, the list includes retailers with sales that are modest. It does not include, most notably, Walmart, Costco, Target or Home Depot, the largest U.S. retailers. Large niche retailers, including Apple and Best Buy, are not on the list either.
Which retailers have taken the pledge? Some are not retailers at all, but influencers in the retailer business. The list includes Sephora, MedMan, Rent the Runway, Macy’s, InStyle, Bloomingdales, Bluemercury, Yelp, Vogue, West Elm, Madewell, Indigo, CB2, Crate and Barrel, Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.
The Gap dominates the list, based on sales. It owns Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Janie and Jack, Intermix and Hill City. It describes itself as the largest specialty apparel company and the second largest apparel e-commerce business in the United States. In the most recent quarter, its revenue was $3.99 billion. It made $95 million on that figure. CEO Sonia Syngal is a veteran of Ford and Sun Microsystems.
As Gap added its name to the 15 Percent Pledge, Kisha Modica, Head of Equality & Belonging at the retailer said, “As we strive to enable a culture of inclusion and belonging for all, we are excited to partner with the 15 Percent Pledge to accelerate our commitment to increase access and opportunity for Black and Latinx communities.”
Where are America’s larger retailers?