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July 2, 2021

Textiles central to Walmart ‘Made in US’ focus

Walmart has ended its Open Call event with 167 products advancing towards a deal with Walmart or Sam’s Club and another 705 receiving further consideration.

By Hannah Abdulla

The US retail giant issued its first virtual Open Call last year looking for US-made goods to sell in Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs.

During this year’s event, small businesses also learned more about Walmart’s “American Lighthouses” – a plan to unite key stakeholders in specific regions of the country to identify and overcome barriers to US production. Textiles will be the first focus area for Lighthouses.

“We are inspired and excited by Walmart’s American Lighthouses concept and agree that US manufacturing is critical, sustainable and achievable through collaborative efforts across multiple stakeholders,” said Laura Phillips, senior vice president, customer and business development and US manufacturing for global sourcing at Walmart.

“In March, we announced an additional spend of $350bn on items made, grown or assembled in the US over the next ten years.”

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She added that the American Lighthouses concept will support and pilot innovative projects and provide tools and resources for businesses to invest in US production, “making the supply chain more efficient, sustainable and making it easier for US manufacturing to flourish.”

Peter Senger, senior vice president/general manager, merchandising, marketing and sales at Renfro Brands, a leading producer of socks and legwear products located in North Carolina, said: “We agree that US manufacturing is critical, sustainable and achievable through collaborative efforts across multiple stakeholders. We employ about 2,000 people across the US and working with Walmart has allowed us to continue to support the needs of the American worker.

“We believe that an investment in American jobs is an investment that provides for American families and strengthens the communities they live in with a stable and sustainable way of life.”

In addition to an increase in spending and support for small businesses and diverse suppliers through efforts like Open Call, the retailer estimates the to US manufacturing commitment will help create more than 750,000 new American jobs and will help avoid 100 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by sourcing closer to customers.

Businesses who progressed during Open Call will now work with merchants on opportunities to sell their products in Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs. All businesses who took part are eligible to sell their shelf-stable products on Walmart’s various online platforms.

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