Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner to Associates: 'A Memorable Year...and an Investment in You'

Feb 18, 2021 4:10 PM ET
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Editor’s note: John Furner, President and CEO, Walmart U.S., sent the following note to Walmart U.S. associates.

Team -

When I joined Walmart in 1993, one of the first things I learned working in the Garden Center at Store 100 in Bentonville, Arkansas, was that “Our people make the difference.” Today we’re releasing our FY21 results, and we’ll all remember 2020 as an unprecedented year in which our people truly made a difference.

In addition to running our already successful retail business, which takes a lot, you faced so many challenges that none of us could have predicted, and got customers the items they needed – however they wanted to shop for them. You helped people feel safe, and many of you also played an invaluable role administering COVID-19 tests and now vaccines.

We did a lot right last year, and our customers rewarded us. We reported an 8.6 percent U.S. sales comp for the year, and a historic fourth quarter with just under $100 billion in sales. We picked six billion items for Pickup and Delivery, and our U.S. business grew by $29 billion. (That last number is striking to me, because it means we GREW by more than half the total SALES we reported in my first year with Walmart. Amazing!)

We also know we have more to do. We saw major changes to customer behavior last year we believe will be lasting, and we have to continue working to stay in-stock, deliver items on time and provide the best omni experience possible.

Today, I’m happy to share an investment in the people who are central to making that happen. On March 13, we’ll be raising pay for our store associates in digital and stocking workgroups. 425,000 store associates in these frontline roles will receive a raise, with starting rates moving to $13 – $19 per hour, based on the store’s location and market.

This is an investment in our people, at the same time we make new investments in our Supply Chain, automation and technology. It follows other actions we took last year, including special COVID-19 bonuses, raising pay for 165,000 key leadership roles, and restructuring to a team-based model of working in our stores. Whatever your role, know that we’ll continue to support and invest in you. This is especially true for our hourly associates: 75% of our Walmart management team began as hourly associates, and we’re committed to offering strong wages, valuable benefits and training and development opportunities that allow someone to grow a career with us.

Our people ARE our future and the reason we’re in such a strong position right now. Thank you for being a part of this team, and once again, thank you for an incredible year!