Retailers Hope Tariffs Don’t Ruin The Holidays

Retailers are racing against the impact of tariffs for the holiday shopping season.

That’s the view of The Wall Street Journal, which said that “big retailers are hustling to speed some shipments through ports and bracing for higher costs next year from the U.S. decision to impose tariffs on Chinese bicycles, handbags and thousands of other consumer goods, though the cost increase won’t hit most holiday items.”

New tariffs on China announced earlier this week by President Trump target some $200 billion worth of imports from that country. The new duties kick in Sept. 24 at 10 percent before increasing to 25 percent by the end of the year.

That timing “means most holiday goods for 2018 aren’t likely to be subject to big price increases,” the report said, citing experts. “Ten percent seems like a wash with the appreciation of the U.S. dollar,” noted Murali Gokki, managing director at consultancy AlixPartners. But, he said, over the holidays the tariffs could affect smaller retailers that ship seasonal items late, or retailers importing hot items at the last minute.

With U.S. tariffs on imports from China, an industry association leader recently said that American shoppers will be faced with higher prices for purchases. American Apparel and Footwear Association President and CEO Rick Helfenbein said the group has concerns about the impacts of tariffs. “We’re having some serious problems with this tariffs situation,” he told CNBC. “This is disruptive to our supply chains; this is hurtful to our business.”

In particular, the footwear and apparel space will be particularly impacted by the tariffs, as 72 percent of footwear, 41 percent of apparel and 84 percent of accessories brought into the country originate in China. Additionally, Helfenbein said that many products come from China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. As a result, the industry doesn’t have many other sourcing options.


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