Our wage hikes give workers more money to spend in our stores: Wal-Mart US CEO

A Walmart department manager helps stock shelves with school supplies in San Diego.
Mike Blake | Reuters

Wal-Mart's two-year initiative to give its employees pay raises has translated into workers having more money to spend in the retailer's stores, Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said Thursday.

"We are seeing an improvement in associates' purchasing in our stores," Foran said on Wal-Mart's media call, following the release of better-than-expected first-quarter results and rosier forward guidance.

"Associates [are] feeling more engaged with wages and training [is] helping," Foran added.

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The raises were part of Wal-Mart's $2.7 billion investment over two years in its workers, which also included better training and increased flexibility on schedules.

In April 2015, Wal-Mart hourly workers got a bump to least $9 per hour — $1.75 above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The second phase of the pay increases began in February, setting a wage floor for Wal-Mart workers at $10 per hour.

Asked about the impact on Wal-Mart of new Obama administration overtime rules, Foran said: "We are still working through how we are going to comply."

More than 4.2 million additional American workers will quality for overtime pay, under the Labor Department rules unveiled this week. They go into effect in December.

Millions more Americans to get overtime pay