Here’s good news for American workers! Home Depot has announced in a press release this week that it will be opening two sourcing offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China. The announcement was made by the company’s Vice President for Global Sourcing, while attending the China International Hardware Show 2002. Home Depot said the 2 new global sourcing offices in China “will greatly enhance our opportunities to purchase more goods directly from the manufacturers,” according to VP Duane Goodwin. “We need access to innovative products with the outstanding quality and affordable prices that our customers have come to demand and expect from us.” The implication, of course, is that retailers like Home Depot can’t get affordable prices with a U.S. flag on them — so they go to China to find knock-off goods similar to ones that American companies used to manufacture in the states.Home Depot said the new offices would “allow us to rapidly expand our purchasing throughout China and Asia.”
Home Depot says it has hired Chinese workers experienced in developing products, and knowledge of manufacturing. Goodwin called the Chinease deal a “win-win..We increase our quality suppliers and they grow their business by meeting our product
quality control requirements.” Home Depot said that “even more exciting” was the fact that shoppers would win too, “because they can be assured of getting more high quality products at even more affordable prices.” Translation: we hope to take advantage of cheaper labor costs in third world countries, and that means more Chinese goods on our shelves, and fewer American manufacturing jobs. In the PR Newswire report of this new development, Home Depot admits that “China is the largest source of these imported products” such as lighting fixtures, fans, bath accessories, faucets, hardware and tools”.Home Depot has been importing these Chinese goods for at least a decade. Shoppers should be aware that Home Depot tools with the brand names Ryhobi, Hampton Bay, and Glacier Bay are really made in China. Home Depot boasts it has “direct factory relationships and partnerships” with these Chinese producers. But because Home Depot does not own them, they have no responsiblity for the working conditions where these items are made. Home Depot imports from 40 countries, and wants to increase its imports to 10% of storewide sales. The company has a network of 7 IDCs (import distribution centers) in the U.S., which range in size from 750,000 s.f. to 1.4 million s.f. The new China import offices will create the need to build more IDCs in the U.S. to help displace the sales of “Made in the USA” goods.