Walmart to invest $350 billion in U.S. manufacturing

Walmart plans to invest $350 billion in products made, grown or assembled in the United States over the next 10 years, a move it says will help create 750,000 jobs.

The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday it is committing to source a wide range of American-made products, including textiles, plastics, small electrical appliances, food processing, and pharmaceutical and medical supplies.

The announcement follows a similar commitment from 2013, when it said it would invest $250 billion in products made (or grown or assembled) domestically. That effort later came under scrutiny after consumer advocacy groups reported what they called misleading labels on to the Federal Trade Commission.

“U.S. manufacturing really matters,” John Furner, chief executive of Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “More businesses are choosing to establish their manufacturing operations in the United States, and the result is more jobs for Americans—a lot more jobs.”

Furner announced the investment Wednesday during a visit to a Techtronic Industries plant in Anderson, South Carolina, where the company manufacturers products for brands such as Hoover, Oreck and Dirt Devil that are sold in Walmart stores.

The retailer, which last year had $524 billion in sales, said its efforts could help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by sourcing products closer to its customers.

Walmart’s Made in America efforts have come under fire in recent years. Truth in Advertising, a consumer advocacy nonprofit group, has repeatedly taken issue with Walmart’s labeling of U.S.-made goods as deceptive and misleading. In 2015, the group said it had found more than 100 instances of misleading labels on the company’s website, on products including dental whitening strips and liquid eyeliner, which it reported to the Federal Trade Commission. The agency briefly investigated the matter but closed its inquiry after it concluded that Walmart had taken sufficient steps to prevent consumer deception.

Earlier this year, Truth in Advertising filed another complaint with the FTC, saying that vacuum cleaners, bath towels and other products on the retailer’s site continue to be labeled “as Made in the USA when they contain imported components.” It called on the agency to “put an end to Walmart’s deceptive made in the USA claims once and for all.”

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2 thoughts on “Walmart to invest $350 billion in U.S. manufacturing

  1. Great news! Back when Founder Sam Walton was alive, you would regularly see signs on specific displays throughout the store promoting a given item as Made in the U.S.A. They disappeared after he died and a too-rapidly increasing percentage of their products began being made in China and elsewhere.

  2. With new technologies coming to market, there is no reason why we cannot be the manufacturing superpower of the world. Most of the jobs in a manufacturing facility could be automated, and those which cannot be could be performed by a well-paid human. Are we willing to make those investments in our future?