Wal-Mart is weighing the impact of additional payroll costs against possibly attracting more consumer dollars to its stores, David Tovar, a company spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. Increasing the minimum wage means that some of the 140 million people who shop at the chain weekly would “now have additional income,” Tovar said.
In the mid-2000s, Wal-Mart backed an increase in the federal minimum wage that eventually took effect in 2007. Asked whether Wal-Mart would support another raise in the federal minimum wage, Tovar said: “That’s something we’re looking at. Whenever there’s debates, it’s not like we look once and make a decision. We look a few times from other angles.”
President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 an hour, saying that doing so would boost the economy and help bridge the gap in income equality. Most Republican lawmakers oppose any such measure, dubbing it a potential job killer. So does the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group of which Wal-Mart is a member. Wal-Mart’s current position on the issue is neutral, Tovar said.