Target CEO: The US trade war creates ‘uncertainty’ and ‘complexity’

A Target worker helps a customer at a Target store in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China creates uncertainty and complexity for companies like Target, CEO Brian Cornell told analysts on a conference call Wednesday.

“As long as the trade situation remains fluid, it will present an additional layer of uncertainty and complexity as we plan our business,” Cornell said on a call following the company announcing second-quarter earnings results.

The Trump administration has delayed a 10% tariff on roughly $300 billion of goods imported to the U.S. from China that was set to take effect Sept. 1 — and was forcing apparel and shoemakers to scramble ahead of the holiday season.

President Donald Trump last week said he would hold off on imposing tariffs on certain goods until Dec. 15. The U.S. Trade Representative office said the delay is for electronics, including cellphones, laptops and video game consoles, and some types of clothing, shoes and “certain toys.” “We’re doing this for the Christmas season,” Trump said.

Cornell said Target is “encouraged” that the Trump administration delayed the tariffs. He said the company benefits from its “diverse, multi-category assortment, deep expertise in global sourcing and a sophisticated set of manufacturing partners around the world.”

“As a result, we are confident in our ability to navigate this period of heightened volatility and move our business forward,” he said.

-CNBC’s Lauren Thomas contributed to this report

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