NEW YORK — Walmart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer and the biggest private employer in the U.S. with 1.4 million workers here, said Tuesday it is rolling out a plan to help jump-start the U.S. economy.
The plan includes hiring more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years, spending $50 billion to buy more American-made merchandise in the next 10 years and helping its part-time workers move into full-time posts.
The move comes as Walmart tries to bolster its image. The company, often criticized for its low-paying jobs and buying habits in the U.S., has faced allegations that it made bribes in Mexico and calls for better safety oversight after a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplies its clothes. Walmart said its initiatives are unrelated to those events, but are meant to highlight that companies don't have to wait for lawmakers to fix the economy.
“The beauty of the private sector is that we don't have to win an election, convince Congress or pass a bill to do what we think is right,” Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart's U.S. business, said Tuesday. “We can simply move forward, doing what we know is right.”