Walmart vs. Costco: How Do They Really Compare?

By Claire Gordon

Every villain needs a hero, and Walmart and Costco have become the dark lord and white knight of low-budget retail. In recent months, Walmart has been criticized for allegedly underpaying and mistreating its employees, while Costco has been lauded as a kind of corporate Dumbledore, nurturing its workers, and fighting to make the world a kinder and more affordable place.

So how do the country's two biggest retailers really fare head-to-head? Check out the breakdown below.

Average Cashier Salary

Walmart: $8.53 Glassdoor

Costco: $15.60 Glassdoor

Average Pay For Low-Level Managerial Position

Walmart: $44,774 Glassdoor, assistant store manager

Costco: $53,956 Glassdoor, supervisor

Number Of Employees Receiving Health Insurance Coverage

Walmart: "more than half" of employees Businessweek

Costco: 88% of employees Businessweek

Turnover Rate

Walmart: 37% self-reported

Costco: 24% InvestorPlace

Position On The Minimum Wage

Walmart: Supported raising the federal minimum wage in 2006, but has remained mum in the recent debate. NBC News

Costco: Supports raising the federal minimum wage to over $10-an-hour. CEO Craig Jelinek wrote a letter urging Congress to do so. The Huffington Post

Percent Of Workforce That Is Unionized

Walmart: 0 Reuters

Costco: 15 Businessweek

Opportunity For Advancement:

Walmart: "Nearly three-quarters of our store management teams started out in hourly positions." The Huffington Post

Costco: 70% of warehouse managers allegedly started as cart-pushers and cashiers. On principle, the retailer doesn't hire business school graduates, and instead sponsors its lower-level employees through graduate school. Businessweek

CEO Compensation (2012)

Walmart: $19.3 million ($1.3 million salary, $4.4 million bonus, $13.6 million in stock grants) Businessweek

Costco: $4.9 million ($650,000 salary, $200,000 bonus, around $4 million in stock options) Businessweek

Most Recent Quarterly Year Over Year Earnings

Walmart: Up 1.1% Wall Street Journal

Costco: Up 19% NBC News

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