Walmart said Tuesday it is raising its minimum wage for store employees to $14 an hour, representing a roughly 17% 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 move, 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 employeewide memo Tuesday. That’s an increase from an average of $17 an hour.
About 340,000 store employees will get a raise because of the move, Hatfield said. That amounts to a pay increase for roughly 21% of Walmart’s 1.6 million employees.
The retail giant, which is the country’s largest private employer, is hiking pay at an interesting moment. Weaker retail sales trends have prompted companies, including Macy’s and Lululemon, to recently warn investors about a tougher year ahead. Some economists are calling for a recession amid persistent inflation and shifting consumer habits.