Walmart is removing all items bearing the Confederate flag from its stores, the nation's largest retailer announced Monday.
"We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer," the Arkansas-based retail giant said in a statement released Monday. "We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the confederate flag from our assortment — whether in our stores or on our web site."
In the statement, Walmart said that "at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly — this is one of those instances." The statement did not detail which of the items was deemed improper.
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The announcement comes hours after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the Confederate battle flag to be permanently removed from the grounds of the state house in Columbia.
"It is my hope that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward together in harmony, and we can honor those nine blessed souls who are now in heaven,” she said, referring to the victims of last week's massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Authorities have called the shooting a hate crime. A white supremacist website that may be linked to the shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, displayed images of Roof apparently holding the Confederate flag.
Calling the battle flag "a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past,” Haley — flanked by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott — said that “the fact that it causes pain to so many is reason enough to remove it from the capitol grounds.”