Walmart Stores is committing to more Made in the USA merchandise and additional veteran hiring efforts, the company announced today. The retailer said it would expand United States manufacturing on two fronts: by increasing what it already buys domestically in categories including storage, sporting goods, apparel basics, games and paper products, and by helping to onshore U.S. production in high potential areas like textiles, furniture and higher-end appliances.
In an address at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention, the BIG Show, Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon introduced a plan that sets as its goal an additional $50 billion Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. product purchasing over the next 10 years.
“At the heart of our national political conversation today is one issue: creating jobs to grow the economy,” Simon said. “We are meeting with our suppliers on domestic manufacturing and are making a strong commitment to move this forward.”
Walmart stated that misconceptions exist as to where the majority of its stock is sourced. According to data that its suppliers provide, the retailer said, Walmart spends two-thirds of its sourcing dollars to buy products shipping from the domestic supply chain. Still, the company said, it sees room to do more.
To expand its domestic sourcing commitment, Walmart has created an internal senior team that will sign longer-term purchase agreements, giving suppliers more operational certainty.
“We can do so much more by working in partnership as an industry and with governments,” said Simon. “I’ve talked with a number of governors, including the incoming chair of the National Governors Association, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, about how governors and retailers and manufacturers can drive this issue together. Governors from both sides of the aisle are enthusiastic about getting their constituents back to work.”
Walmart plans to help convene a summit this summer for stakeholders who might work together and accelerate changes that boost domestic manufacturing.
Beyond sourcing, on Memorial Day, Walmart will begin offering a job to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty. Most of these jobs will be in Walmart stores and clubs, while some will be in distribution centers and the home office.
The retailer also announced it is helping part-time associates who want to be full time make that transition.
“We want all of our associates to find the career opportunities they want with Walmart,” Simon said. “We will make sure part-time associates have full visibility into full-time job openings in their stores and nearby stores, and that they always have first shot at those jobs. We will also bring more transparency to our scheduling system so part-time workers can choose more hours for themselves.”