Macy's dumps Donald Trump. Why that isn't going to hurt him. (+video)
Macy's announced that stores will stop carrying a Donald Trump menswear line after comments he made about Mexican immigrants. Will this hurt Trump financially or politically?
It's official: Macy's is dumping Donald Trump.
Two weeks after the real-estate tycoon-turned-celebrity designer-turned-reality-TV star-turned-Republican candidate made controversial comments in his presidential campaign launch speech suggesting illegal Mexican immigrants are "killers and rapists," the department store has announced it will terminate its contract with Mr. Trump.
We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation," Macy's said in a statement.
"In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy's values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy's since 2004."
The decision follows a "Dump Trump," MoveOn.org petition calling on Macy's to sever its relationship with Trump, which has collected over 700,000 signatures.
In a statement, Trump referenced the petition and suggested that it was his decision to terminate his relationship with Macy's.
"Both Macy's and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators, who are not looking out for the people they purport to represent, but only for themselves. It is people like this that are actually running our country because our leaders are weak and ineffective," Trump said.
In losing his deal with Macy's, Trump is joining other public figures whose fortunes fell after they made comments viewed as racist. The Food Network cable channel dropped celebrity chef Paula Deen in 2013 after she admitted to using a racist slur in a court deposition. In 2014, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after private recordings of him making racist comments were made public. And in 2011, French fashion house Christian Dior fired head designer John Galliano after he made anti-Semitic comments in a Paris bar.
Increasingly, businesses have adopted a zero-tolerance policy for comments viewed as racist or politically incorrect, and Trump's comments have widely been seen as being bad for business.
And Macy's is simply the latest company to drop Trump.
The first to act after the brash businessman's controversial comments was Univision, the American Spanish-language broadcast network, which said it would not broadcast Trump's sponsored lineup of beauty pageants, including Miss Universe and Miss USA.
Days later, NBC said it had severed ties with Trump, including firing him from the popular reality show he hosted, "The Celebrity Apprentice."
And Mexico's Televisa, the world's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, has also ended its relationship with Trump.
For Macy's, the news comes at a time when the department store is struggling to both build sales momentum and strengthen its ties to Latino shoppers, The Media Post reports.
Of course, Macy's is also likely thinking about its own employees: minorities represent 60 percent of its overall workforce and 35 percent of its management team, according to Fortune, diversity numbers that are well above industry average.
As for Trump, the news may be just a "blip on the radar," as a source recently told the Christian Science Monitor.
While his personal wealth may be diminished without his lucrative business partnerships, Trump is a master at self-promotion and reinvention.
Even if he's lost some business, Trump has gained an enviable following on social media. Since he announced his bid for President, Trump's follower count on Twitter has jumped by over 100,000 followers to just over 3 million.
And former Trump associates cite the confident celebrepreneur's ability to repeatedly rise from the ashes.
"He's such a masterful brander that if his brand would've been toxic it would've been toxic a long time ago," Steve Christmann, a former construction company owner who worked for Trump and runs a real estate brokerage, told The Street. "He bounces back from any situation. Like his bankruptcies. He has multiple bankruptcies, including one famous bankruptcy and he became wealthier from it."
And so far, none of the severed corporate partnerships seem to have undermined Trump with Republican voters. In fact, they may have helped him by keeping his name in the headlines on an issue that's important to those voters. In both Iowa and N.H., Trump is polling second in a crowded GOP presidential field. Similarly, in a new CNN/ORC national poll Trump has jumped to the second spot among Republican candidates, just behind Jeb Bush.
Looking at how each candidate fares among those subgroups, conservatives split their support between Bush and Trump, 12% back each. Likewise, among voters age 50 or older, 14% support Bush and 14% back Trump. By contrast, among Republicans under age 50, Bush is the only candidate in double-digits with 23%, Trump has just 9% support. And moderate or liberal Republicans back Bush over Trump 27% to 10%.
Trump's competitiveness among those older and more conservative Republicans also helps explain Walker's and Rubio's declines. In April, 16% of Republicans age 50 or older backed Rubio, 14% Walker. Now, Rubio has just 6% among this group and Walker has 7%. Trump grew from 2% in May to 14% now.