Wal-Mart (WMT): Defender Of Small Children

May 14, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Wal-Mart (WMT) is setting up standards for toy makers which are much tougher than those issued by the Feds. It wants its customers to know that is it cracking down, especially on dangerous products out of China.

The question is why the world’s largest retailer did not make the move a year ago when the problems with toys from China first appeared?

According to The Wall Street Journal "The initiative … encourages suppliers to mark children’s products with "traceability information," including the factory in which the goods were made. About 80% of the toys sold in the U.S., including those marketed by U.S.-based toy makers, are manufactured in China."

Some of Wal-Mart’s peers did the same thing awhile ago.

Wal-Mart does source many of its products, well beyond its toy purchases, from China. It may not want to undermine its relationship with the Asian country by being the first into the market with standards largely aimed at products built there. Why ruin a good thing?

Wal-Mart is also dodging the critical issue. It has the capacity to inspect many of the goods coming in from overseas. It elects not to do so, mostly for profit reasons. The retailer’s program is child care, but not of the best kind.

Douglas A. McIntyre