Walmart boss sees apparel zone drawing more buyers

Dhaka, Feb 05 ( — The visiting chief executive of Walmart, the world's largest retail chain, has suggested setting up of a comprehensive industrial zone for the apparel sector in Bangladesh for convenience of buyers and to attract greater foreign investment.

C. Douglas McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart International, made the suggestion during a meeting with leaders of readymade garment industry at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka on Friday morning, BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy told following the one-hour talks.

"He told us that they consider Bangladesh an important source of apparels. They want to buy more products from here. For that he suggested setting up of a combined industrial zone with adequate gas and power supply for the sector," Murshedy said.

"Such an industrial zone will help raise foreign investment apart from ensuring convenience of the buyers," he said, quoting the Walmart chief executive as saying.

Walmart buys over a billion dollars worth of readymade garments from Bangladesh annually.

Asked whether they had any discussion on a recent Buyers Forum request to prime minister Sheikh Hasina for raising wages of RMG workers, the BGMEA chief said: "Douglas didn't raise the issue. But we've told him that we're reviewing the wages that were raised in 2006 and 2009."

He said McMillon appreciated the move to review wages. Walmart also pledged assistance to BGMEA for offering education to workers' children, Murshedy said.

The Buyers Forum, a group of 11 leading apparel importers, wrote to the prime minister recently requesting a raise in minimum wages of the RGM workers.

McMillon, who arrived in Dhaka on Thursday evening on a short, unannounced visit, was scheduled to meet the prime minister on Friday before he left the country, said Murshedy.


The BGMEA chief said his association also requested the Walmart chief to lead efforts to formulate a unified code of conduct for buyers for the RMG manufacturers, as factories face great troubles to comply with buyer-specific conditions.

McMillon agreed with their view on a unified code.

The industry leaders also requested Walmart chief to consider the issuance of scanning certificates from Bangladesh. He assured the BGMEA leaders of considering the matter.

The BGMEA chief has said 30 percent of Bangladesh's garments exports to the US went to Walmart. The US is the single largest importer of Bangladeshi garments.

Famous for its low prices helped by an innovative inventory management system, Walmart says it "serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week" at more than 8,424 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries.

With last year's sales at $401 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.1 million associates worldwide, according to the company.

The US-based company operates in Mexico as Walmex, owns the giant Asda in the UK, and runs Seiyu in Japan. In countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Puerto Rico, the company has wholly-owned operations. Walmart has it presence on the subcontinent with a retail chain called Best Price in India.

Copyright © 2020, The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Version-2.0, Design & Developed by Systech Digital Limited.