Textiles is one of six priority categories for US manufacturing

Textiles is one of six priority categories for US manufacturing

US retail giant Walmart plans to spend an additional $350 billion on products made, assembled or grown in the US over the next decade – with textiles one of the priority categories.

The retailer says that not only will US products become an even bigger part of its supply chain, but that this spend will support more than 750,000 new American jobs.

"US manufacturing really matters," says John Furner, president & CEO, Walmart US. "It matters to our suppliers, to entrepreneurs and to the environment. It matters to our customers – more than 85% of which have said it's important for us to carry products made or assembled in the US. And most of all, because of the jobs it brings, it matters to American communities and the people who live in them."

In 2013, Walmart pledged to invest $250bn in products made, grown, or assembled in America – and it now says it is on track to deliver on that commitment.

Along with textiles, the priority categories on which its next investment will focus are plastics, small electrical appliances, food processing, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, and Goods Not For Resale (GNFR).

Additional benefits could result from the move, the retailer says, including in an estimated reduction of as much as 100m metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided by sourcing closer to customers, as well as an increase in spending with diverse suppliers based in the US.

Walmart is also launching a new concept called "American Lighthouses," with the goal of supporting US manufacturing in a sustainable, long-term way. 

The retailer plans to unite key stakeholders in specific regions of the country to identify and overcome barriers to US production. These Lighthouses will bring together participants from the supplier community, including manufacturers and NGOs, as well as others from academia, government, and local economic development groups.

Among its ongoing efforts to grow its base of locally-manufactured goods, Walmart holds an annual Open Call event where small businesses can pitch their products

The business also set out a roadmap in 2017 to help tackle barriers to US manufacturing growth and enable it to source more products domestically.

However, it has also acknowledged the challenges of increasing domestic textile and clothing production: Wal-Mart: Reshoring apparel "difficult not impossible"