Tariff Quote Watch: Ralph Lauren Ready to Realign Supply Chain in Response to Tariffs — Panjiva
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Tariff Quote Watch: Ralph Lauren Ready to Realign Supply Chain in Response to Tariffs

China 1758 Cons. Discr. - Apparel 214 Tariff Quote Watch 91 Tariffs 1169 U.S. 3297

Clothing retailer Ralph Lauren has so far had a minimal exposure to the U.S.-China tariff war. While duties of 25% were applied to imports of luggage in July, as outlined in Panjiva research of Sept. 18, subsequent rounds have not applied duties to the clothing or footwear products that form the bulk of Ralph Lauren’s sales.

Yet, the company remains keenly aware of the risks from higher tariffs. CEO Patrice Louvet has indicated that the company is “continuing to diversify our supply chain to mitigate the long-term impact of potential tariff scenarios” according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That’s been a long-running process. Panjiva data shows China, including Hong Kong, accounted for 26.2% of Ralph Lauren’s imports in the 12 months to Sept.30. That compared to 41.5% in calendar 2016 and came as imports from India and Vietnam became a more important part of supplies.

RALPH LAUREN RUNS DOWN CHINA SUPPLIES IN FAVOR OF VIETNAM

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports by Ralph Lauren by country of origin.   Source: Panjiva

Tariffs may already have taken a shorter-term toll on sourcing from China with imports in the third quarter down 13.2% in terms of shipments from the mainland. Ralph Lauren already has a highly diversified supply chain in terms of the mix of product and geographies used.

Cutting exposure to China further would require increased sourcing of sweaters (11.3% of imports from mainland China with Vietnam a potential source) and rubber-soled shoes (12.4% of imports, with few alternatives available.

The company is unlikely to make such changes, however, until tariff coverage is extended to all U.S. imports from China. The future there will become clearer following the Dec. 1 summit meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping.

DIVERSIFIED SUPPLY CHAIN, WITH SOME NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports by Ralph Lauren by country of origin and product (HS-6) for the past 12 months, denominated in TEUs.   Source: Panjiva

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