The retailer avoids government action by changing its “Made in the U.S.A.” labeling.
Walmart’s big push to appeal to patriotic shoppers was just delivered a setback.
The giant retailer was forced to remove “Made in the USA” logos from its e-commerce site after an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission into its labeling.
The FTC said in a letter to Walmart‘s associate general counsel posted on the FTC’s website on Tuesday, that it would not pursue action against Walmart because the retailer had taken voluntary steps to “prevent consumer deception.” Those included removing “Made in USA” logos from product listings on its website and removing U.S. country of origin claims that appeared in product descriptions or titles. In some cases it is also making more detailed disclosures regarding the percentage of U.S. content contained in the product.
Two years ago, Walmart announced its intention to source an additional $250 billion worth of U.S-made goods over the following decade, part of a campaign to improve its reputation as a corporate citizen. The strategy also has a sound business case: a Consumer Reports survey this year found 80% of Americans prefer to buy Made-in-the-USA products when possible.
This summer, watchdog group Truth in Advertising said it found more than 100 examples of items labeled with a “Made in the U.S.A.” logo on Walmart’s web site that misled consumers. At the time, a Walmart spokesman told CBS that “a small percentage of items” were mislabeled because of coding errors.
“We’re committed to reviewing and strengthening our processes to help ensure customers have a great experience on our website and can find the products and information they are looking for,” Walmart said in a statement to Fortune in response to the FTC decision.