Walmart’s “Buy American” drive: Real, or a PR push?

RetailWire started a conversation among its panelists about Walmart’s drive to grow its “Made in the U.S.A.” business (again). The company has said that it will increase purchases by at least $50 billion over 10 years, but for a company with almost $400 billion in cost purchases in its last fiscal year, it’s hard to tell whether this number means anything. Count me among my fellow skeptics:

Actions speak louder than words, and Walmart continues to source products as cost-efficiently as possible wherever in the world it takes them. I suspect that the dollars allocated to “buy American” are a relatively small percentage of the company’s total cost purchases, especially stretched over a ten-year period. But it’s a smart PR move that might actually continue the move back toward U.S.-based manufacturing, even in a small way.

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