BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 22, 2007 – Today, as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) paid tribute to its U.S. associates during Associate Celebration Day, the company awarded more than $529.8 million in associate bonuses to 813,759 Wal-Mart store and Sam’s Club hourly associates in the U.S. The Company also announced several new initiatives to recognize performance and service.
Among the new initiatives unveiled were a Servant Leadership bonus to recognize store and club associates who have been with the company for 20 years or more, and a Customer Champion award program to reward associates who provide outstanding customer service. The Company employs more than 13,400 hourly associates in its stores and clubs with 20 years or more of service.
“There is no better time than today’s Associate Celebration Day to demonstrate just how much we value every member of the Wal-Mart family,” said Susan Chambers, executive vice president for Wal-Mart’s People Division. “The commitment and dedication of our associates is one of the key reasons more than 176 million customers choose to visit our stores each week. Our associates make a real difference for our company, our customers, and for the communities we serve.”
All Wal-Mart hourly full-time and part-time store associates are eligible for annual “My$hare” bonuses, which are allocated based on store performance. The company also announced that My$hare bonuses would be distributed quarterly rather than annually, to reward performance on a more frequent basis.
The Servant Leadership bonus, an idea generated by hourly associates, recognizes long-term hourly associates and assistant managers each year with an extra week of pay for those associates with 20 or more years of service. The Customer Champion award program, scheduled to launch in stores mid summer, is a cash program to reward associates who go above and beyond in providing excellent customer service.
The new initiatives are part of a larger effort introduced last year known as “Associates Out in Front.” “Associates Out In Front” aims to make Wal-Mart a better place to work by fostering communication with associates and focusing on new ways to reward performance and service. The initiatives unveiled today were heavily guided by associate feedback generated during town hall meetings with associates.
Since the launch of “Associates Out In Front,” Wal-Mart has introduced several discussion-oriented programs to allow associates to better share ideas with managers about making Wal-Mart a better place to work. Regional General Manager Town Hall Meetings, Market Manager Roundtable discussions, and the Store Management Listen to Ten Program are three new opportunities for associates to voice their thoughts on building a better Wal-Mart.
“The Market Manager Roundtable has really helped me stay in touch with our associates,” said Jeff Smith, a Wal-Mart Market Manager in Louisiana. “Not only does it give our associates a positive forum for solving problems, it also gives managers an opportunity to let our associates know that we really do care. I think it’s been very, very positive.”
“Associates Out In Front” stems from a larger plan that was unveiled in late 2006, known as “Wal-Mart Out in Front.” Built upon five pillars, “Wal-Mart Out in Front” strives to not only make Wal-Mart a better place to work, but to broaden its customer base, improve business operations and efficiency, drive growth in international business, and make important contributions in the communities where it operates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
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