1. Associates & Employees

Walmart Raises Minimum Wage for Store Employees

Walmart announced Tuesday that it’s raising its minimum wage for store employees to $14 an hour, representing a roughly 17 percent jump for the workers who stock shelves and cater to customers. Starting in early March, store employees will make between $14 and $19 an hour. They currently earn between $12 and $18 an hour, according to Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield. With the increase, the retailer’s U.S. average hourly wage is expected to be more than $17.50, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said in an employee-wide memo. That’s an increase from an average of $17 an hour. About 340,000 store employees will get a raise, Hatfield said. That amounts to a pay increase for roughly 21 percent of Walmart’s 1.6 million employees.

Total Retail’s Take: Walmart is the country’s largest private employer, and the retailer is trying to retain that distinction by making itself a more attractive place for people to want to work. In addition to increased wages, Walmart is introducing additional perks to its employees, such as adding more college degrees and certificates to its Live Better U program, which covers tuition and fees for part- and full-time workers. While labor shortages have challenged retailers to boost pay and benefits to help them acquire and retain employees, particularly for hourly positions within their stores and distribution centers, the timing of Walmart’s wage hike announcement raised some eyebrows. Weaker retail sales and consumer concerns over inflation and an impending recession have led some retailers, including Macy’s and lululemon, to warn investors about a tougher year ahead. However, Walmart is better positioned than others in the sector given its general merchandise assortment and need-based (vs. want-based) purchasing activity of its customers.

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