Walmart Ramps Up Investments in U.S. Manufacturing

Walmart says it is investing in domestic manufacturing. 

The retailer, which has reported record revenues during the ongoing pandemic, said Wednesday it plans to allocate some $350 billion over the next decade on “items made, grown or assembled in the U.S.,” according to a post on the retailer’s website Wednesday by John Furner, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S.

The investment push will focus on categories including textiles, food processing, plastics and others, the company said. Walmart also pitched the investment as supporting its sustainability efforts by helping to reduce carbon emissions by shifting its sourcing patterns, and by bringing groups together including suppliers and local government and business groups to work on retooling the supply chain, Furner’s post said. 

“The aim is to bring U.S. manufacturing back in a sustainable, long-term way,” Furner wrote in the post. 

“U.S. manufacturing really matters,” he added. “It matters to our suppliers, to entrepreneurs and to the environment. It matters to our customers, more than 85 percent of which have said it’s important for us to carry products made or assembled in the U.S.” 

Walmart’s move comes at a time when President Joe Biden’s administration and some industry groups have also voiced support for domestic manufacturing. 

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Biden had issued an executive order in January to improve government procurement of products made in the U.S., by addressing loopholes in the Buy American Act that had included more government purchases of foreign made goods. The Buy American Act requires the U.S. government to prioritize domestic manufacturers for government contracts.

Industry groups including the National Council of Textile Organizations have also indicated their support for the Defense Production Act to help support domestic manufacturing of personal protective equipment. A number of textile manufacturers pivoted to making masks and PPE last year as apparel businesses temporarily shut down and scaled back orders. NCTO has advocated for policies to support the U.S. PPE supply chain and to also incentivize private sector purchases of domestic PPE.  

Walmart has also signaled its support for U.S. manufacturing with its “Open Call” events, which it has conducted since 2014, the year after it indicated plans to spend $250 billion over a decade on U.S.-made products. The Open Call events allow vendors with “shelf-ready product that supports American jobs” to pitch to Walmart, Furner wrote. 

Walmart’s current investment plan “will also mean an increase in spending and support for small businesses and diverse suppliers and sellers who are based here in the U.S., and it will provide the opportunity for 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through our annual Open Call events,” Furner wrote in his post Wednesday. This year’s Open Call event is scheduled for June.

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