Hoping to Trump the slumping housing market

July 20, 2007

      How do you create a small ruckus in the furniture department on the 9th floor of Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York?
    Present Donald Trump, live and in person, to mark the launch of his new furniture collection, Trump Home, at Macy’s.
    On a make-shift stage Thursday night, The Donald gladly talked about the furniture on display, which was described with words like “luxurious” and “high quality,” and he stayed true to his typical Donald roots, touting other Trump businesses like his shirts and ties.
    Onlookers — some of whom were tourists who had accidentally stumbled upon the event — giggled, snapped pictures on their cell phones, and cheered when he said NBC was bringing back his reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”
    The crowd eagerly swarmed the billionaire as his toured the collection and remarked “This is nice” as he walked by a dining room table.
    But what does the hoopla mean for Macy’s and its home business, which has struggled as the cooling housing market has dampened demand for big-ticket items like furniture?
    Hard to tell. Many in the giddy crowd were foreign tourists and others were Macy’s employees.macys1.jpg
    Ivonne Davila, a 32-year-old business manager, said she liked the furniture and was happy the Trump logo was not obsessively displayed on the line.
    She described herself as a regular Macy’s shopper who stopped by the event out of a mix of curiousity–seeing The Donald in person — and because she is looking for furniture. She said she needed furniture for a house she has in Puerto Rico, but she was not sure she would buy anything.
    “If I didn’t have student loans to pay, I would buy it,” she said.
    Many in the crowd seemed to have their eyes on something else–the free champagne and hors d’oeuvres that were being served. Some, resting on the furniture, mumbled that the prices were too high for Macy’s although many said they liked the way the furniture looked.
    The collection includes a china cabinet that was marked at $3,499 and a black leather sofa at $2,699.
    Maybe Macy’s should have had Trump go head-to-head with Martha Stewart — whose Macy’s furniture collection was on display directly across the show room from the Trump collection. Now that would  have been sure to draw a crowd.

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