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Walmart apologizes for Christmas snowman sweater with cocaine motif

Walmart is apologizing for selling a holiday sweater that Santa would surely deem naughty and not nice.

The retailer issued its mea culpa after criticism on social media regarding a sweater that had been available on Walmart's Canadian website. The item is emblazoned with the phase "Let It Snow" and shows a wide-eyed Santa Claus in front of three white lines that resemble cocaine.

"This is a sweater that was actually on sale at Walmart," said one of the milder commentators on Twitter.

In case there was any doubt about the sweater's insinuation, its description stated: "We all know how snow works. It's white, powdery and the best snow comes straight from South America. That's bad news for jolly old St. Nick, who lives far away in the North Pole."

"These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on (our website in Canada), do not represent Walmart's values and have no place on our website," a company spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch by email, noting that the product was not available on its website in the U.S. "We have removed these products from our marketplace. We apologize for any unintended offence this may have caused."

The sweater was shown as discontinued on FUN Wear, the site of the clothing company behind the item.

Walmart isn't the only big retailer to yank a holiday-themed product of late after drawing fire online. Amazon earlier this month took down several products from its website, including Christmas ornaments, that used images of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

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