Wal-Mart has pledged to add $50 billion to its purchases of U.S.-made products over the next decade and says the plan will boost American manufacturing and hiring. The gesture isn't PR, company officials say, but a recognition that nimble, high-quality U.S. manufacturing is more globally competitive. "This is an economic, financial, mathematical-driven effort. The economics are substantially different than they were in the '80s and '90s," says Bill Simon, CEO of the Wal-Mart U.S. chain.

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