Eye on Retail: Employees could feel fallout from new tax bill

The anticipated tax bill could spur retail automation — and slash payrolls.

Advocates say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law on Dec. 22, will ideally lower the cost of buying new equipment. However, by deploying labor-saving machinery, over time retailers will need fewer retail employees, according to CNBC.

According to the report, the law entitles companies to write off the cost of new equipment immediately rather than over an extended time, thereby lowering their short-term taxes. The move benefits retailers in a few ways. Besides enabling companies to keep a greater share of their income in their pocket, automated systems will help retailers more easily respond to consumer demand, and help steady their operating costs.

However, automating tasks could also equate into more employee layoffs. Reducing labor in favor of automation could save companies at least 20%, the report said.

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