Walmart's (WMT) comeback this year hasn't been all about hourly employees earning more money, though that has likely helped boost morale and attention to detail at its supercenters.
Earlier this year, the world's largest retailer raised its minimum wage for store workers hired before Jan. 1 to at least $10 per hour from $9 an hour. New entry-level workers start at $9 an hour but can move to $10 an hour in as soon as six months by going through a training and development program.
Walmart workers that already earned more than $10 an hour received a pay increase of about 2%, according to the company, rather than having to wait until their anniversary date. In total, Walmart estimates that about 1.2 million employees of Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club will see their pay increase on Saturday, out of 1.4 million associates at its 5,000-plus stores and clubs nationwide.
Walmart's U.S. business went onto notch its eighth straight same-store sales increase in the second quarter with a gain of 1.6%. All three of Walmart's product categories -- grocery, health and wellness and general merchandise -- saw sales growth.
But there are at least two other reasons for Walmart's renewed momentum, both of which are directly tied to treating store employees better.