Forget malls! Retail is all about the taxes now, analyst says

Retail's one big fear: Pro

Retailers are looking for answers when it comes to the House Republicans' proposed border adjustment tax, and nobody seems to have them, analyst Simeon Siegel told CNBC on Wednesday.

"The backdrop here is the consumer wins, and it's tough to be a retailer," Siegel, an executive director at Nomura Securities, said in an interview on CNBC's 'Power Lunch.' "As bad as it can be ... we don't even know."

A proposal crafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan would allow companies to deduct the cost of goods that are exported. Importers, however, would not receive the same benefit, effectively imposing a tax on their products.

The retail industry has long relied on low-cost imports to aid in keeping prices low for sticker-conscious consumers. Implementing a border adjustment tax would ultimately force them to raise their prices, and many companies have spoken out, calling the proposal a "hidden sales tax."

Siegel says this plan essentially puts more costs "into the system," and someone has to absorb them. It likely won't be consumers, either, so these costs are free to attack the "retail ecosystem."

Retail industry executives, such as those from Target and Best Buy, met with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday to push back against the proposed border adjustment tax.

Siegel said he sees "very few" companies able to profit from Trump's plan.

For him, and for many other retail analysts and investors, the industry has suddenly lost interest in malls, and now it's "all about the taxes."

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