‘Are These Tariffs Going to Happen?’ US Retailers Fearful as They Try to Plan for Holidays

It’s early May, but Amy Rutherford is already pulling back on holiday orders. The cost of certain items, such as large lamps and Christmas ornaments, has steadily ticked up because of recent tariffs. Now, Rutherford says the surprise threat of new tariffs on Chinese imports — which President Trump proposed on Twitter this weekend — is further affecting her purchasing plans for Red Barn Mercantile, which sells home goods and gifts in Alexandria.

“We have a huge Christmas business,” said Rutherford. “I’ll still spend the same amount this year; I just don’t know how much product I’ll be able to bring in. We had 11 trees [of holiday ornaments] in the store last year; this year, it’s looking like we might have nine.”

While Trump’s threat of escalating tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports has largely been dismissed by analysts as a negotiating tactic, retailers say the repeated uncertainty over price increases can be debilitating, particularly as they lock down orders for the crucial holiday season… The Washington Post

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