Walmart Makes Big Push…

Paul Fogleman,

…To Boost U.S. Production

The world’s largest retailer says it wants to bring more manufacturing back to its USA base.

At the Synthetic Yarn and Fiber Association spring marketing conference April 3-4 in Charlotte, a spokesman for Walmart announced it will spend $250 billion over the next decade with American manufacturers. In 2013, Walmart global sales reached $476 billion.

Joe Quinn, senior director, Public Affairs and Government Relations, said Walmart is responding to polls that show a growing number of shoppers want products made in the U.S. Some 140 million of those shoppers visit Walmart stores each week.

Quinn described the typical Walmart patron as a “mom” and 85 percent of moms feel made-in-the-USA is important. But, he added, price is the top concern.

Walmart’s 10-year plan to boost manufacturing of consumer products in the U.S., including

hands-on support for entrepreneurs. As an example, he cited the reopening of Kent facilities in South Carolina to make bicycles. The company has ceased production in the U.S. 20 years ago.

Additionally, Quinn said Walmart has set us a $10 million program to assist government agencies that support entrepreneurs with research and development and prototyping.

Quinn said challenges to American manufacturing “renaissance” involve decisions as to where to locate, supply chain limitations, shortage of skilled labor and access to financing. Walmart is sponsoring a series of Domestic Manufacturing Conferences to address these issues. He said a recent such gathering attracted eight governors,530 suppliers to Walmart, and 1,400 attendees. Another conference will be held August 14-15 in Denver, he reported.

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