Walmart Inc. (WMT) – Get Report increased its annual bonus payments to $2.8 billion as the world’ biggest retailer continues to win market share and notch record profit gains amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart said it would pay an additional $700 million in cash awards to its 1.5 million employees, including those with Sam’s Club, with $319 million added to paychecks on November 25 and an estimated $388 million in special cash bonuses to be paid on December 24. Part-time and temporary hourly associates will receive $150 and full-timers — which comprise nearly two-thirds of the retail giant’s workforce, will get $300 each, Walmart said.
“As we come to a close on this historic year, I’m filled with gratitude for how our associates have led through one of the most trying periods for our company and country,” said Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner “Our associates have stepped up to serve our customers, communities and each other when it was truly needed most, and we’re pleased to recognize their efforts with a quarterly bonus for strong store performance and a fourth special cash bonus.”
Walmart shares were marked 0.6% lower in early trading Thursday to change hands at $149.66 each, trimming their six-month gain to around 22%.
Last month, Walmart posted adjusted third quarter earnings of $1.34 per share, a 15.5% increase, as group revenues rose 5.2% $134.7 billion and operating income rose 22.5% to $5.79 billion.
U.S. same-store sales rose 6.4% from last year, Walmart said, topping the Refinitiv forecast of 4.6%, “with strength across key categories, including general merchandise, health & wellness and food” while e-commerce sales surged 79%, adding around 570 basis points to the overall comparable sales total.
However, Walmart also incurred COVID-related costs of around $600 million over the quarter, on top of the higher wages and bonus payments and a similar charge of $1.5 billion over the three months ending in June.