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Will Walmart Return to Its “Buy American” Past?

Will Walmart Return to Its “Buy American” Past?

Some consumers take pride in buying American-made products as much as possible. However, with massive development in the global economy, buying goods from American manufacturers is becoming increasingly more difficult.

While Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962 under the “Buy American” mentality, the company quickly brushed it aside to offer lower prices.

So will Walmart return to its “Buy American” past soon? Let’s find out!

What’s Walmart Buy American?

Walmart’s ‘Buy American’ campaign continues founder Sam Walton’s 1985 vision to bring manufacturing back to the United States. The idea was to support companies with products from the United States instead of relying on overseas manufacturing. This would create jobs and a healthy economy for the United States.

For decades,  many manufacturing plants fled outside the borders to reduce manufacturing and labor costs. Walmart hopes to strengthen American communities and reduce their impact on the planet by reducing CO2 emissions since products won’t need to travel as far.

A BAD EXAMPLE: Who Makes Walmart Brand Vehicle Batteries?

Does Walmart Sell American Made Products?

While Walmart sells American-made products, not everything in their stores is from America (by a long shot).

During its early years, Walmart was proud of itself for selling products to American manufacturers. However, as the business grew, they made sacrifices to reduce costs as much as possible. 

While some products available are American-made, the percentage has dropped. Many Americans like buying American-made products, but their bank accounts like the prices of imported items more.

In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into Walmart for advertising some products as American-made. Walmart squashed the FTC’s investigation by agreeing to drop the “Made in USA” logo from products on their website.

Walmart has pledged multiple times to increase the number of American products in its stores. In 2013, they made a $250 billion pledge and then doubled down in March 2021 by announcing a $350 billion “American Lighthouses” pledge through 2030.
Where Does Walmart Get Their Clothes?

Like many clothing retailers, Walmart gets its clothes from various countries. You’ll find clothes from the United States and Canada, but a high portion is from Southeast Asian countries like China, Bangladesh, and Cambodia.

Why Did Walmart Outsource to Other Countries?

Walmart, like many companies, began purchasing products outside of American borders because of costs. You can’t sell budget-friendly items when you’re paying premium prices for wages and materials. 

Labor and material costs in countries like Cambodia are a fraction of what manufacturers would have to pay in the United States. While Americans are fighting for a $ 15-an-hour minimum wage, Cambodia recently raised its minimum wage to roughly $200 per month.

Will Walmart Return to Its “Buy American” Past?

Walmart’s President and CEO, John Furner, announced an updated $350 billion pledge to help the company return to its “Buy American” past. However, we’ve heard this story before. It was only two years after the company pledged $250 billion that their FTC investigation took place. The company changed its “made in America” branding to reflect how much of the product was from America.

In Furner’s March 2021 announcement, he mentions visiting a growing business in Anderson, South Carolina. He says the company “employs more than 1,500 people and assembles products that are sold in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.”

However, assembling products and manufacturing products are completely different.

Will Walmart begin strictly buying products that people not only assemble in America but make from strictly American products? Likely not. While some consumers like the idea of supporting American jobs, not many are willing to show it with how they spend their money. Consumers tend to favor cheaper, imported products.

How Does Buy American Affect Walmart’s Cheaper Price Strategy?

Their ‘Buy American’ pledge will contradict their cheaper price strategy. Consumers cannot expect “everyday low prices” when the business has to pay manufacturers substantially more for the same products.

If inflation causes prices to skyrocket, increased manufacturing costs will increase prices. Walmart must balance stocking its shelves with enough American-made products to appease some shoppers while keeping prices low for most customers.

Is Walmart Moving Out of China?

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. A rumor circulated on the internet that Walmart was packing up and moving out of China. However, the company has refuted those claims and stated the entire story was a misunderstanding. 

While Walmart continues to have locations throughout China, they have closed some of them. Their growth in the country hasn’t been nearly as fast as they had anticipated as they adjust their strategies to a different culture.

Is It Worth Shopping at Walmart?

Walmart is a retailer that consumers love to hate and hate to love. With more than 5,000 locations, they’re one of the most convenient retailers for groceries, clothes, and almost anything else you need.

Their budget-friendly prices leave most Americans with few other options. Most local retailers can’t compete with the steep discounts that Walmart provides to its shoppers. However, some consumers are perfectly content, spending more at alternative retailers. 

Do you think Walmart will make good on its promise to sell more products from America?

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