The presidency of Donald Trump has been particularly calamitous for residents of big cities. He’s threatened to cut all federal funding to major cities over there so-called “sanctuary city” status. He’s come for our arts funding (though, to be precise, that might be more disastrous for rural areas). He sneers at the strength of our diversity.
Now his agenda may take our favorite source for affordable basics away from us. Yes, a Trump presidency may lead to the end of Uniqlo in America.
Tadashi Yanai, the president of Uniqlo’s parent company, says he’d pull the chain out of America if it comes to that.
The comments came when Yanai was asked about Trump’s “buy America, hire American” agenda. Though Trump hasn’t expressly signaled that he’d actually ask companies that sold goods manufactured elsewhere to pack up and leave the country, he has committed to trying to boost American manufacturing while pursuing trade policies that may make it harder for companies to sell imports.
Yanai, a man with a net worth estimated to be as much as five times more than Trump’s, doesn’t see a beneficial future in such an agenda, for Uniqlo or for Americans.
“(What Trump is doing) is not beneficial for U.S. consumers. Anyone will think that it is an open-and-shut and impossible situation,” he continued.
“If (manufacturing products in the United States) is not a good decision for consumers, it is meaningless to do business in the United States,” he added.
America is just a small part of Uniqlo’s business. While there are thousands of Uniqlo stores across the club (its native Japan and China have the most), there’s only about 51 in America. Though, the company has recommitted it self recently to expansion in the country. Yanai said he’d like to open about twenty to thirty more a year.
And, of course, Uniqlo is far from the only retail chain in America that manufactures clothing overseas. Even most American-based chains — Gap, Forever 21, Abercrombie and Fitch to name just a few — manufacture most or all of their clothes abroad. Indeed, one of the more notable American retail chains to make a point of actually manufacturing in the US, American Apparel, just filed for bankruptcy.
Let’s not even get started on Walmart, which is a far larger dealer of foreign manufactured goods in America than Uniqlo could ever even hope to be.
It’s unlikely Trump will directly ask Uniqlo and companies like it to leave, but Yanai is signaling that he’d pull out if the administration’s policies become a barrier to doing business that makes sense to the company here.
Then where would we get our heattech leggings, Oxford buttons downs and surprising fashion designer collaborations from?
Watch: Fashion insiders deliver a united message: “I am an immigrant.”