Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s Wage Move Mirrors Old Ford (NYSE:F) Strategy
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s across board wage improvement is eliciting mixed reactions among analysts. There are those who think that the retailer has just come to a point where it feels that inequality could hurt its future if it doesn’t do something about it today. Then there are those who think that Wal-Mart is driving towards greater profits with the wage raise, almost comparing the company with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) under Henry Ford.
Will Hutton, from the Guardian, is among the vocal voices seeing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s wage increase move as predicated on the desire to offset inequality. Hutton goes as far as calling Wal-Mart’s $10/hour minimum wage unnecessary allocation of funds to labor. It would have been better if Wal-Mart prioritized capital investment over wage boost, Hutton suggests in his recent article.
$10/hour minimum wage
Wal-Mart initially released a program to boost minimum wages for its store associates. The retailer’s wage increase program is progressive in the sense that the initial increment was to be implemented in 2015, whereby the minimum wage rose to $9 per hour and will be rising further to $10 per hour in 2016.
In addition to sweetening wages for store workers, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) also recently expanded its minimum pay boost to include more employees. Some 1.4 million Wal-Mart employees are set to benefit from the expanded pay increment.
Ford’s strategy in Wal-Mart’s wage move
A number of analysts have challenged Hutton’s perspective of Wal-Mart’s wage increase. Those who differ with Hutton say that Wal-Mart is driving towards greater profitability. For example, if the retailer can pay its workers better than rivals, it can attract and retail great talents, reduce workforce churn and inspire better customer service, all of which should have a positive impact on sales and profits at the end of the day.
It is cited that employee churn costs companies so much, which is why getting workers to stay a little longer in the company helps the bottom-line. The strategy worked for Ford, which was facing high employee training costs and related expenses. Ford solved the problem, by boosting pay for its workers and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) could reap the same benefits.
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