Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, is raising salaries and benefits for store managers as it looks for ways to retain them.
Walmart said Monday that managers at its U.S. stores would be eligible to receive grants of up to $20,000 in company stock each year. The shares will vest over a three-year period, with a percentage vested each quarter.
The announcement came a few weeks after Walmart said it would raise the average salary for store managers to $128,000, up from $117,000. The big-box retailer also said bonuses for store managers could reach up to 200 percent of base salary, and that a store’s profitability would become a bigger factor in the calculation.
Store managers are crucial to driving sales and profitability within their stores and keeping morale high in a dynamic business. Managers are also seen as an important avenue of leadership in the company.
A store manager at a Walmart Supercenter supervises hundreds of employees who work in a variety of departments, including food, apparel, pharmacies and auto centers. These stores typically attract dozens of 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 company adapted to changes in consumer behavior, including managing e-commerce capabilities like curbside pickup. store for online ordering and browsing for out-of-stock or overstock products. inventory.
“It’s fair to say we’re asking them to act like owners and think like owners.” said John Furner, CEO of Walmart US, who previously was a manager at a company store, in a briefing with reporters.
The size of the stock award to managers will be based on the Walmart store format. Store managers at Supercenters will be eligible to receive the most, up to $20,000 a year. For the other two levels of stores, which are often smaller and have fewer departments, managers will be eligible to receive $10,000 or $15,000 in annual stock grants.
Retailers have looked for ways to retain workers as people moved in and out of jobs during the pandemic in search of higher wages and more opportunities. Until recently, Walmart had focused on raising wages for store workers. Turnover within Walmart stores has stabilized after 2022 and the company feels good about its staffing levels, Furner said.
“The ranks of store managers have been more stable in recent years,” he said.
“We will keep store managers in their locations a little longer and it is good for an entire team to have a manager for a few years rather than a year or less,” he added. “So that’s a good sign.”
Furner noted that Walmart already had a stock purchase program in which the company matches 15 percent of your purchase 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 price. On Friday, Walmart shares closed at $164.27. In the last five years, it has increased almost 43 percent.
“If we perform well and the stock price goes up, then our management teams, particularly our store managers, will be able to participate,” Furner said.