International Retailers What rough beast
Spare a thought for retailers in the USA who are facing the prospect of $250bn worth of Trump-branded tariffs bearing down on them like an out-of-control juggernaut, courtesy of the great man’s lunatic trade war with China. What will they do? Get out the Sharpie and start marking up prices, willy nilly? Or take it on the chin and shield punters from the worst of the increases in the hopes that it will all be over, come November 2020? Businesses like Lowe’s and Home Depot, which derive less than 10% of their stock from China are looking good. Walmart, conversely, is not, although it does have scale and swing with the suppliers on its side. Back in dear old Blighty, meanwhile, they have their own juggernaut to contend with, and either way you look at it, it starts with a “B”. Morrisons, just to pull a name out of a hat, has reported a -2% drop in second quarter sales, attributable, they say, to the ongoing assault from Aldi and Lidl, and to uncertainty stemming from Brexit.
Comment: Interesting times, as the old Chinese curse goes.