A couple of days ago I did a post on how you can use the search feature on REI’s website to discover loads of American made products you can find to give as gifts this holiday season. That got me thinking how major brands and retailers would stack up when it came to featuring American made products. I investigated a number of national brands and retailers: LL Bean, Nordstrom, Macys, Eddie Bauer, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Northface, Sears, and J.C. Penny, and Target. For each, I entered the search terms Made in America or Made in USA. And these are the results I came up with.
The Northface: It seems that like its corporate brother Columbia Sportswear, The Northface manufactures virtually nothing in this country.
Eddie Bauer: Walking into an Eddie Bauer store or perusing an EB catalog, you really get a heavy dose of Americana. Unfortunately, Eddie Bauer does not sell much that is manufactured in America. My search of their website returned 32 items manufactured in this country.
LL Bean: Like Eddie Bauer, LL Bean really seems to play on the whole “we are an American firm” vibe, in this case the Maine vibe in particular. However, my Made in America and Made in USA search in the LL Bean website returned only 156 items manufactured in this country. Some of their bags are still made in Maine.
Macys: My Made in America and Made in USA search of Macy’s website returned 2473 items manufactured in this country. That is the good news. However, given the number of items of merchandise that Macy’s sells, I would hazard a guess that the percentage of their merchandize that is manufactured in this country is rather small. Still, better some than none.
Nordstrom: Nordstrom’s website listed 5662 items made in this country. Quite a number of their Nordstrom label items were manufactured in this Country.
Sears: Sears website did not spit out an exact number of items they sold that were manufactured in this country, just that it was more than 500. Lots of U.S. made tools, furniture and an overwhelming number of picture frames.
J.C. Penny: Maybe it was me, but it seemed that many of the items on the J.C. Penny website that appeared after my Made in America and Made in the USA search were imported. I am looking into it.
Was there a winner? I am crowning Nordstrom, but I was pleasantly surprised how many U.S. manufactured goods were available for purchase at a lot of big retailers. Eddie Bauer and LL Bean were real disappointing, but not that surprising. But we know they can do better. The next time someone drags you into an Eddie Bauer shop, let the manager know that you sure wish they had more U.S. made goods for sale. Who knows, maybe someday they will.