Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is opening its war chest to more U.S. suppliers.
Wal-Mart on Tuesday held its first open call for U.S. vendors at the company’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. The retail giant is armed with $250 billion to spend over 10 years on products made in the U.S. Wal-Mart’s deep pockets drew to the open call more than 500 suppliers who scheduled 800 meetings with more than 175 buyers from Wal-Mart U.S., Sam’s Club and walmart.com.
“We believe we have the opportunity to make jobs in your communities,” said Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart U.S. “Changes in the cost of energy and transportation and all the variables that make up manufacturing are swinging in the direction of the U.S. It’s more efficient and effective to manufacture here now.
“We made a commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in 10 years,” Simon continued. “About two-thirds of what we buy already is made or grown in the U.S. American business has always been the growth engine of the economy in the U.S. After six years of moving sideways, it’s time for renewal. We can’t wait for programs or policies. We have to more forward. We’ll see growth in areas and markets where we haven’t seen growth in many years.”
Simon said Wal-Mart will cultivate American-made products through reshoring, expanding orders with current suppliers and working with new suppliers. “This is the first time we’ve ever done this,” Simon said of the event. “We’ve never opened our doors and made our buyers available in an open-call sort of way. We’re going to buy some stuff today.” About half of the 500 suppliers that attended the open call are new to Wal-Mart.
Simon noted that other retailers are following Wal-Mart’s lead. “We see other retailers moving into the same space and we like that,” he said. “This is not a Wal-Mart issue; it’s not a supplier issue; it’s an American issue.”
Michelle Gloeckler, executive vice president of the consumables division and U.S. manufacturing lead for Wal-Mart U.S., said the most competitive U.S.-made products “are made of raw materials that are available here, such as cotton, plastics and metals. Also, goods with highly automated product processes and items that are inefficient to ship are competitive.
Gloeckler said Wal-Mart’s role is that of a facilitator. “Our role is to lead,” she said. “We have diverse ways of reaching our consumers. There’s Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Club, walmart.com. We’ve been working to integrate our digital assets with our physical assets.
“We asked our buyers to be more flexible and asked them to understand your production output,” Gloeckler told suppliers. “Maybe you can’t produce the supply for 4,000 stores. Maybe we can [help you] look at things differently. For folks that are reshoring, it takes capital to buy or lease a building and bring in machinery. We’ve done multiyear agreements to give people the certainty to invest here in the U.S.”
In the afternoon, Gloeckler called the open call a success and said Wal-Mart had made commitments to products such as sweaters, toys, home goods, kitchen items, shampoos, flashlights and inventions.
Apparel and textile production is a key part of the made in U.S. manufacturing initiative. Gloeckler said softlines executive vice president Andy Barron told her that “there were some significant [apparel] presentations during the day. We previously announced a lot of reshoring of socks and simple textiles.”
Wal-Mart launched a $10 million, five-year manufacturing innovation fund focused on textiles, dying and automated cut-and-sew. On Aug. 14 and 15, Wal-Mart will host its second manufacturing summit in Denver. “Suppliers in the last 18 months told us they’re having difficulty finding component parts,” Gloeckler said. “Factories with capacity and flexibility can display those parts in a trade-show format at the summit and suppliers can find them. We think it will rejuvenate the supply chain.”
Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer, told suppliers that Wal-Mart’s core customer is a mom shopping for her family. “She’s leveraging her budget with us,” he said. “She’s changing and changing fast. She’s looking to buy products anywhere using digital or e-commerce. We’re looking for items that drive top-line sales. We also want exclusive breakthrough innovations. We have to win on price. If your offer is not competitive, we’ll tell you.”
Because the lead time for U.S.-made goods is shorter, Gloeckler said products finished now could be on store shelves in 60 days. Products purchased by walmart.com will be on the Web site even sooner. Walmart.com on Tuesday launched a new Made in the U.S. online shop. “We’re working with suppliers to highlight on the front of the package that the product is made in the U.S. We’re seeing more awareness of Made in America,” Gloeckler said.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye