Kroger posted record revenue last year as scores of Americans stockpiled groceries and ate most meals at home. Its shares returned 12% including reinvested dividends, trailing the 18% rise of the S&P 500.
Precarious conditions for frontline workers led to calls for higher wages from unions, lawmakers and even President Joe Biden, who campaigned on raising the minimum federal hourly rate to $15. Many of the largest U.S. employers have moved to boost pay, including Amazon.com Inc. and McDonald’s Corp.
Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates around 2,740 stores including the Chicago area’s Mariano’s chain and employs 465,000 workers, said in March it plans to bring the average hourly wage to $16 an hour, from $15.50 — a 3% increase. Last April, it also gave full-time workers a $300 bonus and part-timers half that. The company says that its average hourly wage rises to more than $20 when including benefits like health care.
A Kroger representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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