Walmart Says Price Increases Are Coming Due to China Tariffs

May 16, 2019, 4:13 PM UTC

Shopping at Walmart is about to get more expensive.

The nation’s largest retailer commented on the effects of the Trump administration’s increased tariffs on goods made in China Thursday in an earnings call. And it wasn’t good news for bargain hunters.

“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low,” said Brett Biggs, chief financial officer at Walmart, which once again topped the Fortune 500 list in 2019. “However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices, we believe, for our customers.”

The chain is working with suppliers to find ways to reduce the impact of the price increases, but much of its merchandise, including clothes and sporting goods equipment, comes from China.

Officials did not say which items they expect will cost more, nor did they give a time frame on when to expect the price increases.

Last Friday, the White House increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. A second round of 25% tariffs on another $325 billion of products from the country could begin “shortly,” administration officials said.

Nearly 6,000 products will be included in the tariff, including common items such as furniture, clothing, shampoo, cereal, perfume, bed sheets, electronics, and purses. A study by the Center for Economic Policy Research found the Trump administration’s 2018’s tariffs cost U.S. consumers $1.4 billion per month.

Retail proponents have long warned an escalation of the trade war with China could result in higher prices.

“Tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers, not by China,” said David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation in a statement last week. “A sudden tariff increase with less than a week’s notice would severely disrupt U.S. businesses, especially small companies that have limited resources to mitigate the impact. If the administration follows through on this threat, American consumers will face higher prices and U.S. jobs will be lost.”

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