Wal-Mart CEO Says Low Prices, Factory Safety Compatible

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Mike Duke said he sees no conflict between paying low prices to suppliers that source merchandise from overseas and being able to maintain safe conditions at garment factories.

“We will not buy from an unsafe factory,” Duke said in an interview yesterday (Dec. 11) with Bloomberg LP President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Doctoroff at the New York offices of the Council on Foreign Relations. Bloomberg LP is the parent company of Bloomberg News.

“This is not a price discussion,” Duke said. “This is just a case if a factory is not going to operate with high standards then we will not purchase from that factory, and there’s no discussion about price.”

A fire at a Bangladesh factory that made clothes for Wal-Mart killed more than 100 people last month, prompting labor- rights groups to call for the world’s largest retailer and other Western companies to do more to make garment factories safer. Wal-Mart said the factory was not authorized to make its clothes and fired a supplier that was using it.

In a wide-ranging conversation that covered everything from wages paid to workers in U.S. stores to questions about the retailer’s e-commerce, Duke said his company faces high expectations from the public because of its size. Duke also took questions from the audience at the event. Click here to read the full story from our partners at TheCityWire.com.