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Walmart is growing wages for 425,000 staff to a median of over $ 15 an hour

A worker wears a mask while organizing merchandise at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey on July 20, 2020.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

Walmart announced Thursday that it would raise wages for workers to an average of over $ 15 an hour, giving a boost to 425,000 employees.

Walmart said its minimum starting wage for workers will stay at $ 11 an hour. The US workforce numbers around 1.5 million, making it the largest private employer in the country.

The big box retailer announced this when it reported earnings for the holiday quarter that fell short of Wall Street's expectations, weighed down by Covid-related spending and increased investments in e-commerce. Walmart also warned that sales growth will weaken this year.

Walmart shares were down nearly 5% in premarket trading.

Beginning March 13, the company said salaries for branch employees in digital and warehouse positions will rise to $ 13-19 per hour, depending on where the store is located.

Rivals Amazon and Target have raised their starting wages to $ 15 an hour, and the von Biden government and Congress are considering raising the federal minimum wage to that level from $ 7.25 an hour.

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, who also chairs the Business Roundtable, previously said the retailer believes the federal minimum wage should be higher.

– CNBC's Melissa Repko contributed to this coverage.

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