Walmart raises store managers’ pay for first time in a decade, average hits $128,000

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Walmarts are huge. Thousands of square feet, thousands of products, thousands of shoppers.

Now, Walmart is saying it’s going to pay the managers of those stores, charged with that huge responsibility, accordingly, with a new average salary of $128,000 a year.

Walmart said Thursday it is boosting the average pay of its store managers from $117,000, or by just over 9%, the retailer announced Thursday. The raise kicks in on Feb. 1.

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The company told CNN that it hasn’t made any changes to store managers’ pay structures in more than a decade, before a pandemic and all that followed subsequently, including a period of high inflation.

Previously, the pay range for store managers was between $65,000 and $170,000, it said. It will now change to be between $90,000 and $170,000, based on the store format that the manager runs.

The company said in a press release that it is also changing the managers’ bonus program to emphasize store profits, which will play a bigger role in calculating their bonuses, in addition to sales.

“If you hit all targets, your bonus could now be up to 200% of your base salary,” Walmart said in the release. The move comes as retailers strive to attract and retain more workers, curb turnover rates and confront a growing wave of labor organizing efforts at big box stores.

“I’m proud Walmart is making this investment following last year’s increase in starting pay for stores. As a result of those investments in front-line hourly associates and upcoming annual increases, our U.S. average hourly wage will soon exceed $18,” Cedric Clark, Walmart U.S. executive vice president of store operation said in the post.

At the same time, Walmart also cut the starting paying for some new hires in a sign of a cooling labor market.

In September, Walmart reduced the starting pay by about $1 for new hires who prepare online orders for curbside pickup or delivery to customers’ homes, and those who restock store shelves beginning in mid-July. The pay change did not apply to any existing employees.

Walmart’s rival Target raised its starting wage for workers in some positions to up to $24 in 2022. The Minneapolis-based retailer said at the time that the increase applied to hourly workers at its discount stores, supply chain facilities and headquarters.

Target in 2020 set its minimum wage at $15. That will remain in place, but Target said some workers would qualify for higher starting pay based on the nature of their job and the prevailing competitive wages in their local market.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart employs about 1.6 million workers in the U.S., where it operates close to 5,000 stores nationwide. The retailer noted that as many as 75% of its managers began their Walmart careers as hourly workers.

“So did I,” Clark said. “My Walmart career started as a sporting goods hourly associate in Washington state. I was able to grow my career because people invested in me.”

Walmart and other value-priced retailers have benefited from budget-strapped household shopping more frequently at their stores in an inflationary environment, as well as higher-income shoppers trading down to discount stores.

CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this story

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