Walmart continues to post strong quarterly earnings results, having grown US net sales 5.3% to $98.2bn in the latest quarter ending July 31. US grocery sales saw slightly higher gains with 6% net sales growth, or about $2.6bn year-over-year and $5.5bn on a two-year stack basis, reported the company.
To support its strong growth and alleviate any disruption to its business operations, Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillan shared that the company would be significantly stepping up its capital expenditure "with a strong emphasis on supply chain in the coming years."
"These investments are aimed at increasing assortment to broaden our appeal with customers and get product positioned and picked efficiently to deliver it faster. These investments will increase capacity, help support the growth of Walmart+ and improve productivity," he said during the company's latest earnings call.
Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations, Walmart US; and Karisa Sprague, senior vice president, people, supply chain, Walmart US; said that the company would be stepping up investments in the rollout of high-tech automation systems using advanced robotics to enable dense and efficient modular storage of goods as well as new high-tech grocery distribution centers (the first of which will be in the Washington DC area and will be handling fresh and frozen food).
"In order to support that growth, we’re planning to hire 20,000 new associates across more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers (DCs), fulfillment centers (FCs) and transportation offices," said the company.
Employee benefits to 'exceed' expectations
The positions would fill a wide range of permanent full- and part-time roles including order fillers, freight handlers, lift drivers, technicians, and management positions, said Walmart, who will be holding special hiring events to attract job candidates.
The average wage for supply chain associates will be $20.37 (a step above Amazon's $15 minimum hourly wage for warehouse employees), said Metzger and Sprague, who said Walmart aims to "exceed associates' expectations" for company provided health benefits, family support, and career development opportunities.
Associates would receive medical coverage at approximately one-third less ($30.50 per pay period) than the average premium employees pay at other companies, according to Walmart. As part of the company's health benefits plan, Walmart employees would receive maternity and paternal benefits, emotional well-being benefits, healthcare tailored to the LBGTQ+ community, and veteran and military spouse support.
The company also offer a $150 cash bonus to all field-based associates, including those working in supply chain who receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Supply chain employees will be trained at one of Walmart's six new Walmart Academies, where they will gain experiences and skills needed for success in their jobs, including further education opportunities in which associates can pursue their bachelor's degrees debt-free.
"Whether you’re new to the workforce or you’re looking for a fresh start, this is the place to continue your professional journey... the majority of our managers started their careers in roles such as an order filler, and now have responsibility for leading a team of associates to ensure goods are received and shipped to stores and customers with the highest quality and service levels," said Metzger and Sprague.