Walmart, Sears to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise
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Retail giants Walmart and Sears will no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise in response to criticism after last week's shootings in a historically black South Carolina church, the stores told CNN Tuesday.

“We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer. We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our web site,” Walmart spokesman Brian Nick told the network. 

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“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.”

By Tuesday morning, a search for the flag on Walmart’s website does not show any Confederate flag merchandise, although it does include the Mississippi state flag, which includes the design affixed to its top left corner. 

While Sears, which also owns Kmart, doesn't sell Confederate flags in its stores, a spokesman told CNN that the company would remove all third-party sales of Confederate flag merchandise from its website. Those items have not yet been taken down as of Tuesday morning.

The news comes after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for the state legislature to vote to remove the flag from the capitol grounds after last week's shootings that killed nine black church congregants in Charleston.

“We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer,” she said during a news conference Monday.

“The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the Capitol grounds.”

Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspect in the shooting, is in custody after reportedly confessing and telling officers he wanted to start a race war. Photographs of Roof released after the shooting show him posing with a Confederate flag, leading to criticism that the flag sparks racial tensions.