U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim comments cost him business in the Middle East on Wednesday, with a major chain of department stores halting sales of his glitzy “Trump Home” line of lamps, mirrors and jewellery boxes.
The real estate mogul and reality TV star now makes most of his money from licensing his name on golf courses, luxury developments and retail goods, rather than owning buildings.
On Monday, Trump, who leads opinion polls in the race to be the Republican nominee for president in an election in November next year, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, in comments widely repudiated by other U.S. politicians.
Trump Home products, like a “table lamp in antique brass with crystal drops” and a decorative box with a “brilliant plume of a peacock… redecorated in gold finish for an exclusive look”, have been on sale at Lifestyle department stores in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
But the chain’s parent firm Landmark, one of the region’s biggest retail groups with 190 stores in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, said it was pulling all Trump merchandise off its shelves.
“In light of the recent statements made by the presidential candidate in the U.S. media, we have suspended sale of all products from the Trump Home décor range,” CEO Sachin Mundhwa said in an emailed statement. The group did not give any details on the value of the contract.
Although there were no other immediate announcements of business partners breaking with Trump so far, others made clear they were uneasy using his brand name in the Middle East, where he has been actively expanding his footprint in recent years, heavily concentrated in the Gulf business hub of Dubai.
In its biggest regional partnership to date, his Trump Organization is working with Dubai-based real estate giant DAMAC Properties to build two golf clubs – including one with a course designed by Tiger Woods – and a gated island community outside the city.
The 42 million sq ft AKOYA by DAMAC development, which will contain the Trump International Golf Club Dubai, Trump PRVT mansions and villas and a Trump Spa & Wellness Centre, is valued at some $6 billion.
DAMAC drew a distinction between its partner’s business and political interests, but declined to say explicitly whether it was reconsidering the partnership.
“We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organization as one of the premium golf course operators in the world,” Niall McLoughlin, DAMAC’s senior vice president for communications, said in a statement.this is beginning to look like the Limbaugh Exodus with exception to money trumping intolerance 6 billion goes over a billion hurt feelings once no matter what he says it always will. i think he banked on that but let's not give up on the power of the boycott, or public opinion.