Minimum wage increases taking effect in 21 states in 2015 will impact more than 1,400 Wal-Mart stores, in a Reuters exclusive. Shartia Brantley reports.
Wal-Mart can roll back prices, but not wages. It will face higher labor costs in 2015 as minimum wage increases passed in twenty-one states take effect. The world's largest retailer will adjust salaries at more than 1,400 stores or about one-third of its U.S. locations, according to an internal memo reviewed by Reuters. The company has been criticized by labor unions for low wages. Wal-Mart estimates it average hourly wage is $12.92. Wal-Mart shares are up slightly in early trading. Wal-Mart is the biggest private employer in the U.S. with 1.3 million workers, but it's unclear how many workers will be affected. Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough noted, "It is tough to estimate the cost impact of the minimum wage changes without knowing the number of Wal-Mart employees affected. While many employees might start out at the minimum rate, they advance to higher rates over time." At this time, Wal-Mart is not expected to cut staff or reduce hours because of the minimum wage increases.