Walmart announced Thursday that it would increase workers’ wages to an average of over $ 15 an hour, giving a boost to 425,000 employees.
Walmart said its starting minimum wage for workers would remain at $ 11 an hour. Its US workforce is around 1.5 million people, making it the largest private employer in the country.
The big-box retailer made the announcement as it posted lower-than-expected holiday quarter earnings on Wall Street, weighed down by coronavirus-related spending and increased investment in e-commerce. Walmart has also warned that it expects sales growth to moderate this year.
Starting March 13, the company said, compensation for store employees in digital and storage roles will increase from $ 13 to $ 19 per hour, depending on the location of the store.
Rivals Amazon and Target have made their starting wages at $ 15 an hour, and the Biden administration and Congress are considering raising the federal minimum wage to that level of $ 7.25 an hour.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who is also chairman of the influential business roundtable, previously said the retailer believes the federal minimum wage should be higher – but with “Geographic differences”.