Blog: Wal-Mart sourcing shifts
Leonie Barrie | 21 September 2012
In the same way that retail organisations are in a constant state of flux, Wal-Mart's decision to change the terms of its supply deal with Li & Fung shows that sourcing policies, too, have to shift in line with the changing needs of a business.
Back in January 2010, when Li & Fung set up a new sourcing unit for Wal-Mart called Direct Sourcing Group, it was said to have the potential to buy goods worth about $2bn in its first year of operation. The world's largest retailer was focused on cutting costs by consolidating its global sourcing operations, so moving away from the Hong Kong firm's wholesale operations and tapping instead into Li & Fung's vast buying operations around the world was one way of doing this.
But Wal-Mart, with its mix of products, brands and countries of operation, has probably the most complex buying needs of any major clothing retailer. It continues to buy some clothes direct, some own-branded clothes through wholesalers, and some specially developed brands from branded companies. Each is bought in a way best suited to the product concerned, the market it's bought for and the country it's bought from.
And meeting these needs now requires a new change of direction - at least as far as its relationship with Li & Fung is concerned. The Direct Sourcing Group will continue as the main direct resource for the retailer's Sam's Club warehouse format in the US; and it will provide buying agency services to Walmart in the US and some international markets in specific categories.
Another of Li & Fung's subsidiaries will move to a supplier relationship with Walmart's international markets, where it will provide design, replenishment and other services "that could not be provided as a buying agent."
Li & Fung is playing down the change of arrangement. "Wal-Mart is now one of the group's largest customers," it says, adding that the new agency agreement "will allow the group to build on this relationship."
Fashion retailer H&M and UK based glove and leather manufacturer Pittards both say they are monitoring the situation in Ethiopia closely after the country's government declared a state of emergency af...
Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...
The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...
The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...
- Fashion fit for the future – strategies for speed
- How PVH is paving the way for connected apparel
- Digitisation to drive new apparel-making models
- Under Armour Lighthouse will disrupt production
- Will new Vietnam wage hinder competitiveness?
- US Q3 in brief - Rocky Brands, Gymboree Corp
- Child refugees found in Turkey apparel factories
- Chinese manufacturer invests $20m in US facility
- Managing change in the move to new tech tools
- Reebok Liquid Factory reinvents shoe production
- Africa-Med strategic sourcing review – comparing East Africa, North Africa and Turkey
- REPORT BUNDLE: Africa-Med, Southeast Asia and Central America strategic sourcing pack
- Southeast Asia strategic sourcing review – a focus on Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar
- Apparel (GLOBAL) - Industry Report
- Global Sports and Fitness Wear Market 2016-2020