WASHINGTON — Promoting his economic platform with business leaders, President Donald Trump today met with top retail executives at the White House.
Focusing on Trump’s plank of job creation, simplification of the tax code and reduced regulatory red tape, the Wednesday morning meeting was a scheduled event with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The discussion also touched on taxation of imported goods. (*Note: Go to 58:05 of video for the start of the meeting.)
“The retail industry is very important to the country. It’s supporting millions and millions of jobs, really one of the great job producers — probably almost No. 1, wouldn’t you say, pretty close,” Trump told retail executives. “There’s a lot of confidence in our economy right now, a great confidence level. You’ve been seeing that in the stock market, you’ve been seeing that in businesses, and you’ve been seeing that on every chart that’s taken.”
After the event, Trump tweeted, “Great listening session with CEO’s of the Retail Industry Leaders Association this morning!”
Mass market retail executives at the meeting included Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target Corp.
“Today, we joined other retailers in a productive conversation with President Trump regarding the importance of the retail industry to our nation’s economy,” Walgreens Boots Alliance said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, including the approximately 247,000 people employed in the U.S. by Walgreens. We look forward to working with the president and his administration on the important issue facing our company, employees and our customers.”
Other retail chief executives at the meeting included Hubert Joly of Best Buy, Marvin Ellison of JCPenney, Art Peck of Gap, William Rhodes of Autozone, Jill Soltau of Jo-Ann Stores and Gregory Sandfort of Tractor Supply Co.
“Given the retail industry’s position as America’s largest private sector employer, retailers welcome the opportunity to speak with President Trump about policies that will spur job creation and economic growth here in the United States,” Brian Dodge, senior executive vice president of public affairs for RILA, said in a statement.
RILA’s members include more than 200 retailers, manufacturers and service providers, which combined account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales and over 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.