Grocery retailers around the country are once again proving why they are considered leaders of our industry. As the grocery supply chain continues to transform along with the COVID-19 developments, chains like Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Whole Foods, Sobeys, Wegmans, and more are implementing an employee-centric strategy to ensure their stores are well-stocked. This will include either awarding bonuses or increasing minimum wage by $2.
"Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's Chairman and CEO, after the retailer announced over the weekend it will be awarding appreciation bonuses for its associates. "Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers. I am incredibly grateful for all they are doing. The true heroes in this story are our associates, and we want to provide them with additional resources and support to help them continue their remarkable effort."
According to a press release, the grocer will provide a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, and customer service associate, amounting to $300 for every full-time associate and $150 for every part-time associate.
Cult grocery icon Trader Joe’s will also be awarding its employees bonuses, releasing a memo outlining a “special bonus pool” that will be divided equally among store employees based on their hours worked during a sales period, disclosed Business Insider.
"We want to acknowledge the incredible hard work and dedication of our Crew Members in supporting each other and our communities by sharing the financial benefit of this sales increase with our store crew who have worked so hard during the past several weeks, and for as long as this challenge remains," the memo said.
Walmart joined Kroger and Trader Joe's in awarding bonuses—totaling nearly $550 million for hourly associates, according to a press release. Walmart also plans to accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for its store, club, and supply chain associates a month early, totaling $180 million. In addition, the grocery giant also raised the minimum wage for its e-commerce warehouse employees by $2, Seeking Alpha reported.
"Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times," said Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Walmart. "We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us."
Whole Foods, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Target, and Canadian retail giants Sobeys, Loblaw, and Metro all are offering a $2-an-hour increase to their grocery staff, in the same vein as Walmart. Additional buy-side heavyweights taking care of their own include UNFI whose CUB banner is raising its hourly wage for team members by $2.
Sacramento native Raley’s also recognized the dedication of its team members and announced it will be giving a one-time award to all its hourly employees. And, according to Mass Live, Stop & Shop’s 70,000+ workers along the East Coast will receive a 10 percent pay raise.
As grocery retailers continue to implement top-of-the-line strategies to keep the industry strong during this time, Deli Market News will continue to report on the latest updates.