Walmart is raising pay for 425,000 employees starting March 13, the retail giant announced Thursday.
The nation’s largest employer announced the raise for store workers in its digital and stocking workgroups and says it is bringing pay above $15 an hour. Starting pay rates for these employees move from $13 to $19 per hour based on the store location and market, Walmart said.
During Walmart’s quarterly earnings Thursday, the company also said it’s going to invest nearly $14 billion to increase automation and improve its distribution network. The company has pushed hard into fast and convenient delivery during the coronavirus pandemic and it signaled that will not slow down.
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Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday the company has increased starting wages by more than 50% since 2015 and that the average wage in the U.S. will be at least $15.25 per hour. The retailer has about 1.5 million employees in the nation’s more than 5,000 stores and Sam’s Club locations.
Sales surged by 7.4% in the period that includes the critical holiday shopping season and sales at stores opened at least a year rose 8.6%, up from 6.4% in the previous quarter. Online sales rose 69%, down from the 80% jump in the previous quarter, and it was the slowest growth since the beginning of the pandemic.
In late January, Walmart said it is increasing the number of its stores that will serve as local fulfillment centers, which are condensed modular automated warehouses built within a store or added to a store. The centers will house pantry items, frozen foods, consumables as well as electronics.
Workers at Walmart and Sam’s Club have received a few COVID pay bonuses in the past year. In September, Walmart announced it was giving approximately 165,000 hourly workers a raise by introducing new leadership roles and “cross-training opportunities.”
Contributing: Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko