BENTONVILLE, Ark. – November 7, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that Utah-based Mountainland Apples will be showcased during the months of October and November in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched in September, is a year-long campaign to spotlight Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas in support of locally grown agricultural products. Throughout the next several weeks, Mountainland Apples will team with Wal-Mart Stores to provide home-grown apples to numerous Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in the region and provide visibility to the company’s commitment to Utah agriculture and growers around the country.
“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re proud to introduce Salute to America’s Farmers as a tribute to our country’s growers, underscoring our company-wide commitment to farmers across the United States,” said Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart Stores senior vice president, perishable food division. “We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our customers in Utah. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also generate savings on distribution costs that we can pass on to our customers.”
The Mountainland Apples co-op was founded in 1984 and represents eight growers from Southern Utah County. In addition to apples, Mountainland Apples members grow peaches, sweet and sour cherries, nectarines, plums, pears and other stone fruits.
“Wal-Mart recognizes the value of locally grown produce and providing it to their customers,” said Doug Rowley, general manager of Mountainland Apples. “We’re thrilled that through our relationship with them, we’ve been able to bring more Mountainland apples and holiday cheer to homes throughout Utah and surrounding areas.”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program in September and each month will showcase one local grower from each of four states. Local farmers and growers in all 50 states will be spotlighted throughout the upcoming year. During each state’s showcased month, consumers can identify local produce via corresponding signage in local Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. In addition to Mountainland Apples, Wal-Mart suppliers Wada Farms in Idaho, Riveridge Produce in Michigan and Ricker Hill Farm in Maine are being saluted in their respective regions during the upcoming weeks.
“Mountainland Apples is an important supplier to the agricultural industry in the state of Utah and participant in the Utah’s Own program,” said Richard Sparks, Marketing Division Deputy Director. “We take great pride in our local growers and appreciate Wal-Mart’s continued support and commitment toward the growers and producers in our state.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. In the state of Utah in FYE 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spent $832,022,474 for merchandise and services with 743 suppliers. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 29,528 supplier jobs in the state of Utah.*
As of October 2006, Wal-Mart’s presence in Utah includes 26 Supercenters, 2 Discount Stores, 5 Neighborhood Markets and 7 SAM’S CLUBS. It also has three Distribution Centers for a total of 14,986 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, SAM’S Clubs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet