Major retailers are halting sales of the Confederate flag after the shooting deaths of nine black church members in South Carolina.
Sears Holding Corp. says it is removing Confederate flag merchandise from its website, and a spokesman says that no Confederate flag merchandise is sold inside Sears or Kmart stores.
On Monday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would remove all items from its store shelves and website that feature the flag after the shooting suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, appeared in photos holding the flag.
Amazon, EBay, Etsy, Target and Spencer Gifts will also ban the Confederate flag and related items.
However, the companies that make Confederate flags and confederate-themed products, as well as smaller operators that sell them, expect sales to surge, at least temporarily.
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, Arkansas-based Walmart 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. But a Mississippi state flag, which features the Confederate battle emblem in one of its corners, was on offer.
A top Mississippi lawmaker called Monday for the removal of the emblem from the state flag.
NASCAR backs call to remove flag
NASCAR issued a statement Tuesday backing South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.
The motorsports series issued its statement on the same day South Carolina lawmakers agreed to discuss removing the flag and one day after Haley said "the time has come" to take it down.
"As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate Flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity," NASCAR said. "While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events."
NASCAR has faced criticism over the years for various issues, often involving sponsors. A decade ago, there were questions when hard liquor companies emerged as potential sponsors for a sport built around fast cars and a series whose founding in 1948 gave ex-moonshiners a place to race. More recently, the National Rifle Association drew attention when it struck a sponsorship deal with Texas Motor Speedway not long after the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
The Confederate flag has been easy enough to find at NASCAR races through all of that, as common in some track infields as cutoff jeans and beer-swilling fans.
In the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, a bipartisan mix of officials across Southern states are calling for the removal of Confederate flags and other symbols of the Confederacy.
Here's a look at what's happening and what's being proposed:
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag should be removed from the Statehouse grounds, reversing her position on the divisive symbol. Legislative leaders - Republican and Democrat, black and white - joined her for the announcement.
"One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come," Haley said.
The flag flown in front of the state Capitol for 15 years after being moved from atop the Statehouse dome. Haley's announcement sparked further calls from politicians across the state and country both for South Carolina's flag to come down and for other flags and Confederate symbols to be removed in other states.
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn said Monday that the Confederate battle emblem is offensive and needs to be removed from the state flag. He said in a statement that remembering the past is important, "but that does not mean we must let it define us."
Mississippi voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin in 2001 to keep the state flag, which has a Confederate battle emblem in one of its corners.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader in the Ku Klux Klan, to be removed from an alcove outside the Senate chambers at the Statehouse. The bust, inscribed with the words "Confederate States Army," has been at the Capitol for decades.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is moving to have the Confederate flag banished from state license plates. He said Tuesday that he's asked the state attorney general to take steps to reverse a 2002 federal court decision that said Virginia could not block the Confederate Veterans from displaying its logo - which includes the Confederate flag - on state license plates.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas was within its rights to ban personalized license plates showing the Confederate flag. The court, in a 5-4 decision, rejected a challenge on the grounds of freedom of speech.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans had sought a Texas plate bearing its logo with the battle flag. Similar plates are issued by eight other states that were members of the Confederacy and by the state of Maryland. In Virginia, McAuliffe cited this ruling in his call for banning the flag from plates in his state.