Should retailers pass on added cost from tariffs to end consumers, or find new vendors?

by Steve Pruitt

Q: With the new tariffs on footwear made in China, should I pass the cost onto my customers, or look to new suppliers?

Steve Pruitt: In the short run I’d say pass the cost onto your customers. And also take your normal markup. Watch your footwear performance closely to see if the new prices are impacting demand. Also, keep a close eye on your competition. You may have to adjust prices if you start losing sales.

It’s worth remembering, however, that in the short run tariffs are profit opportunities. They can become a problem over the longer term, but right now we don’t know how the market will respond. As always, have a backup plan, even if that means a new vendor structure. Good luck.

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