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Walmart: Always Low Prices... Unless Tariffs Increase

Higher tariffs = higher prices, Walmart warns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2019 2:48 PM CDT
In this April 24, 2019, file photo a Walmart associate arranges items on a shelf at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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(Newser) – Walmart warned on Thursday that higher tariffs on imports from China will mean higher prices, the AP reports. The comments came after the nation's largest retailer reported its best sale performance at its established US namesake stores for the fiscal first quarter in nine years. It marked 19 straight quarters of same-store sales gains. "We're monitoring the tariff discussions and are hopeful that an agreement can be reached," said Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs. But he told reporters, "Increased tariffs will lead to increased prices for our customers." Walmart declined to comment on what type of price hikes shoppers could expect and which products would get the biggest increases.

The specter of higher prices was also echoed by Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette. He told investors Wednesday that if a fourth round of tariffs takes effect, that could mean higher retail prices for both store label and national brands. Target, JC Penney, and other major retailers will be reporting results in the next few days and should shed more light on the issue. Walmart, Macy's and other major retailers have been left largely unscathed by the first several rounds of tariffs since they focused more on industrial and agricultural products. But that changed last week when the Trump administration slapped 25% tariffs on imports like furniture. The administration wants to extend the 25% tariffs to practically all Chinese imports not already hit with levies including toys, shirts, household goods and sneakers. (That's $300 billion worth of products.)


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