What would a reinstated travel ban mean for retail?
A few retailers are speaking out privately to their employees about President Trump’s executive order blocking immigrants of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days.
[Editor’s Note: Last Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from implementing the executive order. Yesterday, an Appeals Court rejected a motion by the Justice Department to reinstate the order.]
In two e-mails to employees on the days after the restrictions were announced, Amazon.com condemned the move while vowing to legally support any affected employees and to work with congressional leaders to overturn any ban.
“No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants,” wrote Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in one e-mail. “It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country — one we should not weaken.”
Walmart, in a note to employees, said, “We are closely monitoring the situation and assessing potential impact to our business, but especially to our associates and their families.”
Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz detailed a plan to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. He told employees, “I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack.”
REI CEO Jerry Stritzke wrote in a note to employees, “We are an organization, and a country, built on inclusion. We believe we are better when we come together, when we are open and when we are welcoming.”
Timothy Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a staff memo stated, “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.”
Business leaders generally take a neutral stance around such political topics. Nike, Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola are among other major brands that have spoken out against the order. Technology companies have been much more vocal because a large number of their U.S. workers were born overseas, but the retail industry could likewise lose out on talent.
The fallout for retail frequently cited in articles is the potential reduction in tourists from the Middle East that would particularly affect the luxury channel. But a wider impact could potentially be felt in the form of a greater drop-off in tourism to the U.S. and reduced demand for American brands due to consternation overseas about the new administration’s policies.
- Starbucks, Exxon, Apple: Companies Challenging (or Silent on) Trump’s Immigration Ban – The New York Times
- Fashion Reacts Publicly and Privately to Trump’s #Muslimban – Business of Fashion
- Retail execs slam Trump’s immigration ban, vow support for refugees – Retail Dive
- Message from Howard Schultz to Starbucks Partners: Living Our Values in Uncertain Times – Starbucks
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Trump’s immigration ban: ‘We’re a nation of immigrants’ – GeekWire
- Columbia Sportswear’s Tim Boyle rips Donald Trump travel ban, recalls family’s flight from Nazis – The Oregonian
- The Co-Op Is For All – REI
- Trump travel ban prompts calls to boycott travel to the US – Yahoo News
- How Fashion and Beauty Brands Are Responding to Trump’s Immigration Ban – Racked.com
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the potential repercussions of the proposed travel ban, should it be reinstated? How should retailers and suppliers to the retail industry respond?