Wal-Mart creates $10 million fund to back U.S. manufacturing
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[January 24, 2014]
By Elvina Nawaguna
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Wal-Mart Stores
Inc <WMT.N>, the world's largest retailer, said on Thursday it has
created a $10 million fund to support manufacturing in the United
States, and that one of its bicycle suppliers plans to start
production in the U.S. this year.
Bill Simon, Wal-Mart's U.S. president, said at the United States
Conference of Mayors' winter meeting in Washington, DC, that
Wal-Mart and its philanthropic arm, the Walmart Foundation, will
provide the funds for the five-year program, offering grants to
innovators in U.S. manufacturing.
The announcement was the latest in Wal-Mart's year-old push to boost
U.S. manufacturing. It has vowed to buy an additional $50 billion in
U.S.-made products over the next decade.
A number of the company's long-time suppliers are returning
production to the United States, as rising wages in China and
elsewhere have made offshore production less lucrative.
Kent International, a New Jersey-based bicycle maker, announced with
Wal-Mart on Thursday that it will move its production to Clarendon,
South Carolina, and create 175 new jobs and assemble 500,000
bicycles annually by 2016.
Kent said it had moved all of its production overseas in 1990s
because of lower costs of production abroad. The company's bicycles
are sold at Wal-Mart, Target <TGT.N> and a variety of other
retailers, according to Kent's website.
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Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the world and employs
around 1.3 million people in the United States.
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; editing
by Ros Krasny and Stephen Powell)
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