Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, is raising salaries and benefits for store managers while looking for ways to retain them.
Walmart said Monday that managers at its U.S. stores would be eligible for grants of up to $20,000 in company stock each year. The shares will vest over a three-year period, with a percentage vesting each quarter.
Earlier this month, Walmart announced it would raise the average salary for store managers from $117,000 to $128,000. The big-box retailer also said bonuses for store managers could reach up to 200 percent of base salary, with store profitability becoming a more important factor in the calculation.
Store managers play a crucial role in driving sales and profitability of their stores and maintaining morale within a dynamic business. Managers are also considered an important source of leadership within the company.
A store manager at a Walmart supercenter supervises hundreds of employees who work in various departments, including food, clothing, pharmacies, and auto centers. These stores often attract many shoppers and generate millions of dollars in sales each year. At the start of the Covid pandemic, store managers were given even more responsibilities as the business adapted to changing consumer behavior, including managing e-commerce capabilities such as pickup in-store online orders and browsing out-of-stock and overstock products. inventory.
“It’s fair to say we’re asking them to act like owners and think like owners” John Furner, chief executive of Walmart US and former store manager at the company, said during a briefing with reporters.
The amount of inventory allocation to managers will be based on the Walmart store format. Supercenter managers will be eligible for the maximum, up to $20,000 per year. For the other two store levels, which are often smaller and have fewer departments, managers will be eligible for $10,000 or $15,000 in annual equity grants.
Retailers looked for ways to retain workers as people entered and left their jobs throughout the pandemic in search of higher wages and more opportunities. Until recently, Walmart focused on increasing pay for store workers. Revenue at Walmart stores has stabilized after 2022 and the company is happy with its staffing levels, Mr. Furner said.
“The ranks of store managers have been more stable in recent years,” he said.
“We keep store managers on site a little longer, and it’s good for a whole team to have a manager for a few years instead of a year or something less,” he added . “So that’s a good sign.”
Mr. Furner pointed out that Walmart already had a stock purchase program that matched 15 percent of an employee’s purchases up to $1,800. But Monday’s announcement goes further.
He also said the new program would allow store managers to share in the rewards of a growing business and rising stock prices. On Friday, Walmart stock closed at $164.27. Over the past five years, this figure has increased by almost 43 percent.
“If we do well and the stock price increases, then our management teams, our store managers in particular, will be able to participate,” Mr. Furner said.