retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Earlier this week, Walmart made 10 recommendations for how the US manufacturing sector might revitalize itself and "help recapture $300 billion of the $650 billion worth of consumer goods that are currently imported."

Not among the recommendations: Look for merchandise outside the US.

Which is interesting, since Reuters reports that Walmart's online business "is recruiting vendors in China and other countries to boost its online offerings in a pivot away from Wal-Mart's Made-in-America campaign ... According to two sources with knowledge of the matter, Wal-Mart Stores Inc in February began inviting sellers from China, the United Kingdom and Canada to list on the marketplace section of Walmart.com, where it earns a share of revenue from goods sold and delivered to customers by third-party vendors."

Walmart's move was born out of practicality - not every item is sells is available in a made-in-the-USA version.

Wal-Mart Vice-President of Partner Services Michael Trembley says that "Wal-Mart's move is focused on meeting customer demand for different types of products and increasing online assortment. Wal-Mart's marketplace inventory has quintupled this year to 50 million items," which "pales in comparison to Amazon's nearly 300 million products online."
KC's View:
Maybe using the word "hypocrisy" in the headline was a little strong, but I don't think that it is unfair to point out that maybe the Bentonville Behemoth is sending out mixed messages.

It is all well and good to make public policy recommendations. But I think that Walmart is more credible on this issue when it pledges to buy more made-in-the-USA goods, helps US companies grow their capacity, and invests in plans that clearly identify these made-in-the-US goods and market them aggressively.

I'm just a little surprised that nobody in Bentonville noticed that these two approaches appear to be at odds with each other, and suggested that a more cohesive strategy makes sense.