Will Donald Trump’s presidency be good for retailers?
Days after the conclusion of arguably the most divisive campaign in U.S. history, in which one candidate won the popular vote and the other the Electoral College, retailers are left to wonder what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for their businesses.
To support or oppose Mr. Trump’s agenda is complicated by the fact that his candidacy mostly centered on the man himself and lacked policy specifics on issues important to retailers. Groups representing retailers are hopeful the new administration will seek pragmatic solutions to challenges on a variety of important issues.
International trade – Mr. Trump has criticized trade deals he maintains has cost Americans jobs. He has pledged to renegotiate past agreements and to slap tariffs on goods imported from nations such as China that he believes are undermining U.S. businesses. The National Retail Federation (NRF), which supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact championed by the Obama Administration, estimates the deal would “boost U.S. spending power by more than $1,000 per household.” Mr. Trump wants to rework TPP, if not scrap it entirely.
Immigration – Mr. Trump has pledged to build a wall on the nation’s southern border and institute a ban (size and scope TBD) of individuals coming to the U.S. from Muslim nations. Fulfilling this pledge may limit top talent emigrating to the U.S.
A recent story of a Fulbright Scholar-winning data scientist sending his wife and children back to Pakistan after their seven-year-old son (an American citizen) was allegedly bullied at school for being Muslim is an example of an anti-immigrant mood found in parts of America. It should be noted that local authorities have been unable to verify the family’s claims at this point.
Infrastructure – Mr. Trump has pledged to support massive new spending to rehabilitate America’s crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels and airports, infrastructure vital to retail industry performance. NRF supports infrastructure investments and plans to lobby for “a multimodal national freight policy to smooth the movement of retail cargo from ships to trains to trucks.”
Taxes – Candidate Trump called for lowering corporate tax rates from 35 to 15 percent while eliminating some of the deductions now taken by businesses. It’s unclear, at this point, if that would eliminate deductions on imports that are seen as favorable to retailers.
- Trump’s Policies Could Damage America’s Retailers – Bloomberg
- What Trump’s Election Means For Retail Sales – Forbes
- Post-Election Retail: Where Do We Go From Here? – National Retail Federation
- Retail Federation Watching for Donald Trump’s Trade Policy – The Wall Street Journal
- Post-Election Trauma May Depress Holiday Shopping Season – USA Today
- N.C. Authorities: No Evidence To Support Father’s Claim Muslim Boy Was Assaulted On Bus – The Huffington Post
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect retailers to benefit from Donald Trump’s presidency? What issues related to the retail industry, whether covered in this article or not, will be most important for the new administration to address?