Walmart is revamping its supply chain program to help suppliers hit by financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The retailer announced it is adding dedicated resources to speed up the supplier on-boarding process, eliminating an eligibility requirement, and adding JPMorgan Chase as a partner (they join existing partners Citibank and Wells Fargo).
"This is a difficult time for some of our suppliers. Capital is increasingly maxed for some suppliers as their business models change and shift," said John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. "More than two-thirds of our 18,000 suppliers are small and medium sized businesses who could benefit from this newly enhanced program. We encourage them to look into it through our Supplier Academy system."
In addition to helping suppliers, Walmart announced it is waiving rent for all Walmart property partners for the month of April, as well as for the hundreds of eye doctors who operate at Sam’s Clubs.
"It’s our hope that this rent relief will help these businesses financially weather the current situation and take care of their employees," Furner said. "We’ll continue to monitor the need for additional support past April. We’re also working with many of our partners to encourage their impacted employees to apply for the 150,000 temporary jobs we plan to fill in the coming months."
Last week, Walmart announced it would provide its hourly part- and full-time associates with a special cash bonus for their efforts during this time. The payments, between $150 and $300, amount to $365 million company-wide. On top of the bonuses, Walmart is hiring another 150,000 full-time and part-time workers to help meet the needs of its customers.
Walmart Inc. operates about 11,500 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites, employing more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. The mega-retailer is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.