After investigation, Walmart joins Target in pulling Egyptian cotton sheets
Less than a month after Target announced it would offer customers refunds for more than $90 million in Welspun's Egyptian cotton sheets, Walmart said it is also pulling Egyptian cotton Welspun sheets from its shelves and offering refunds, reports Bloomberg.
"Our customers trust us to provide products that are what they say they are on the label," Walmart spokesperson Marilee McInnis said in an e-mail to Bloomberg on Friday. "Welspun has not been able to assure us the products are 100 percent Egyptian cotton, which is unacceptable. While the sheets are excellent quality, we are offering our customers a full refund."
Any customer seeking a refund can bring their Welspun 100% Egyptian-cotton sheets, tags off of the sheets, or receipts into a Walmart location to receive a refund.
J.C. Penny and Bed Bath & Beyond are also investigating the credibility of their Welspun Egyptian cotton products.
Walmart's news adds credence to the theory that a large percentage of Egyptian cotton sold in the US is fake.
While high-quality cotton can be grown around the world, cotton must be grown in Egypt in order to be considered real Egyptian cotton.
"When you think about it, 1% of the world's crops are Egyptian cotton. You walk into any store, or look at any one of these websites and see they're all selling Egyptian cotton - it just doesn't add up," Scott Tannen, founder of luxury bedding startup Boll and Branch, told Business Insider in August. "I think [the Target case is] just at the tip of the iceberg."
While Tannen has an interest in exposing fake Egyptian cotton, he isn't the only one suspicious of the industry.
Earlier this year, the Cotton Egypt Association found that 90% of "Egyptian cotton" sold by retailers tested using a DNA-based authentication program did not contain any cotton produced in Egypt. The association at the time held up Welspun as a symbol of success - something that has clearly since been called into question.
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