Trade negotiations with China impacting local retailers

Sep 24, 2019, 2:06 PM
trade china tariffs local retailers...
Bohme, a Utah-based women's retail clothing store with seventeen locations, is being impacted by ongoing trade negotiations with China. (PHOTO: John Wojcik, KSL Newsradio)
(PHOTO: John Wojcik, KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Local retailers say that ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are putting them in a tough spot.

Widespread tariffs imposed on clothing, shoes and other Chinese-made products are hitting retail stores especially hard.

Fernanda Bohme is the co-founder of Bohme, a Utah-based women’s retail clothing store that is headquartered in Sandy. Bohme has seventeen stores with a new location at City Creek Center.

“Now I’m actually having to pay an extra $25,000 just to clear that, just to pay the tariffs,” she said.

She says the only way to offset tariff hikes is to gradually increase their prices. It might not be something the shopper notices immediately, but over time it’ll add up.

“Maybe the next month it’s another fifty-cents, it’s another fifty-cents here and there,” explained Bohme. “Where that gradual increase it’ll just be acclimated to the new prices.”

She says their options are limited and turning to American-made material isn’t an easy choice.

“China has been a huge partner for us to be able to bring in the goods at a much better price and in a much better quality,” said Bohme.

Meanwhile, most Utahns aren’t feeling the squeeze yet, but remain worrisome of price hikes.

Data gathered for the Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index shows that nearly half of Utahns worry that trade negotiations with China will negatively impact their personal finances.

In contrast, 70% of Utahns say they have not felt any impact from the recent tariff hikes​. Those numbers are based on an August survey of 500 households in Utah.

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Trade negotiations with China impacting local retailers