Walmart to Support U.S. Manufacturers with $ 350 Billion of Additional Business


A worker delivers groceries to a customer’s vehicle outside a Walmart Inc. store in Amsterdam, New York, on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Walmart said Wednesday that it plans to back American manufacturers by spending an additional $ 350 billion over the next decade on items that are made, grown or assembled in the US.

Nearly two-thirds of Walmart’s current assortment is made, assembled or grown in the U.S., as of the most recent fiscal year, according to a company spokesperson.

With the move, the retailer said American products will become an even larger part of its supply chain. It will focus the effort on purchasing more materials and merchandise from domestic manufacturers, including plastics, textiles, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, food processing, and small appliances.

As the world’s largest retailer by revenue, Walmart has faced criticism from labor advocates and others for lowering prices in a way that drives more manufacturing and jobs abroad. The company responded in 2013 by committing to purchase $ 250 billion of US products by 2023. Wednesday’s announcement represents a step forward from that commitment.

In recent years, Walmart has created new ways for American suppliers to be picked up by its stores and its website, including an annual Open Call event where small businesses can present their products. He also created a website where Walmart suppliers can learn how to bring their operations back to the US.

However, the company has also faced scrutiny. In 2015, it launched a “Made in USA” logo on products, after an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission and a watchdog group found the items were not made in the US. The company now lists the percentage of a product made in the US on its label.

In a post on the company’s website Wednesday, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said the effort benefits the environment and the economy. He said it will reduce the company’s carbon footprint by sourcing products closer to customers, create a demand for more jobs in the United States, and create opportunities for more American entrepreneurs to become suppliers or sellers for Walmart.

Furner said increased spending could support more than 750,000 new jobs in the United States, according to a Walmart study with the Boston Consulting Group that used data from the Economic Policy Institute and statistics from the Labor Office.

And, he added, the decision responds to what customers want. More than 85% of consumers surveyed by Walmart in 2019 said it is important for the retailer to carry products made or assembled in the U.S.

Furner said that Walmart will also launch a new program, called American Lighthouses, that will bring together stakeholders in different parts of the country to find ways to overcome barriers to American production. He said participants will include vendors, government officials and academic experts who can suggest ways to support and expand manufacturing in the United States.

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