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Walmart to Boost US-Made Products

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(BENTONVILLE, Ark.) -- Walmart announced Tuesday that it is increasing the sourcing of U.S. products by $50 billion over the next 10 years, hoping to boost U.S. manufacturing and jobs.

Walmart, based in Bentonville, Ark., is the largest retailer and private employer in the U.S. with 4,601 stores and clubs.

In a speech at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York City, Bill Simon, Walmart’s U.S. president and CEO, said Walmart and Sam’s Club will buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products over the next decade by increasing what it already buys and helping onshore U.S. production in “high potential areas like textiles, furniture, and higher-end appliances.”

In its last earnings report, Walmart said its net sales for the third quarter rose 3.4 percent to $113.2 billion, from $109.5 billion in the third quarter last year.  Its earnings were $3.63 billion, up 8.7 percent from the same period a year earlier.

A company spokesman said the company does not break down the percentage of products sourced in the U.S.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing said, “If Walmart’s ‘Made in America’ announcement is real, it’s a game changer. No company drives retailing trends like Walmart.”

“Ideally, Walmart’s and Sam’s Club’s pledge of increased domestic sourcing will include higher-ticket items like appliances and apparel, and not simply more of the current paper goods and vegetables that are made in the U.S.,” Paul said.

In 2012, grocery and consumables comprised 55 percent of Walmart’s net U.S. sales. The next highest was entertainment with 12 percent. Health and wellness products comprised 11 percent of the business and hardlines, including sporting goods, at 10 percent. Apparel sales make up 7 percent of Walmart’s U.S. business last year.

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