Walmart has become one of the most outspoken critics of Trump's trade war, but tariffs could end up giving the retail giant a boost

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesIt’s still bad news for Walmart’s shoppers, though.
  • Walmart could stand to gain more shoppers as a result of the US-China trade war.
  • A recent report from UBS said that Walmart could end up with a “broader customer base” thanks to tariffs.
  • But the retailer has emphasised that US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China still has terrible implications for shoppers.
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It’s no secret that Walmart is not a fan of tariffs.

CEO Doug McMillon has established himself as a prominent critic of US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, voicing his concerns about rising prices in the world of retail.

But a report from UBS indicates that a worsening trade war with China might come with an upside for the retail giant.

The report by Michael Lasser, Mark Carden, and Michael Goldsmith concluded that tariffs “are not necessarily viewed as beneficial for Walmart.” Still, they could boost the company’s market share, as the report noted that Walmart “has historically seen share gains during periods of economic hardship.” The report added that Walmart’s senior leadership “believes it can manage through” tariffs.

Read more: Walmart’s move to a new headquarters highlights just how different it is from Amazon

In other words, the report said, consumers feeling the pinch of the US-China trade war are more likely to gravitate toward Walmart because of its low prices, giving the company a “broader customer base.” The report also said Walmart could stand to both attract new shoppers and see frequent customers branch out when it comes to their usual categories.

“For example, a consumer may frequently shop Walmart for consumables, but not apparel,” Lasser, Carden, and Goldsmith wrote. “In order to keep these customers, Walmart is focused on its execution in these departments.”

Still, none of this is good news for customers. If the trade war continues to escalate, Walmart has made it clear that shoppers will be forced to pay higher prices. A representative for the company did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment on this story.

“Increased tariffs will lead to increased prices, we believe, for our customers,” Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said following the company’s latest earnings call, according to CNN.

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