“We are five days from retail Armageddon,” he told FOX Business’ Ashley Webster on “The Claman Countdown.” “If we get hit with these tariffs, this is a one way ticket to retail ugly.”
Last Friday, President Trump tweeted the U.S. would raise existing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products to 30% from 25% on Oct. 1 and will lift duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to 15% from 10% on Sept. 1.
“You know what’s going to happen on the 1st? Most of the apparel is going to get hit and about half the footwear is going to get hit and this is our selling season,” he said. “We know the president loves Christmas…we hope he doesn’t want his administration to be the Grinch. We don’t make that much money and 15 percent is going to take away the profits of retailers.”
Helfenbein said retail stocks have been feeling the heat from Trump’s trade war.
“We look at the retail index constantly, the XRT index is now below where it was in December, that’s the index of retail stocks. So retail is already under enormous pressure.”
Helfenbein praises President Trump for his work with China, but hopes he makes a deal with the Chinese soon.
“The president can walk out of this being a major hero, but only if it gets resolved, if it doesn’t get resolved my folks can’t pay for it and the American consumer can’t pay for it. This is really a bad deal.”