Wal-Mart Wrap: Military pay bump, Boulder store closure, Sam’s now on JD.com

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 256 views 

Recent Wal-Mart news ranges from new differential pay for its military workers to a store closure in Colorado. Sam’s Club launched a flagship online store on Chinese retailer JD.com.

This week Wal-Mart announced a new pay policy for its employees who take time off to serve in the military for voluntary and involuntary assignments. The retail giant said it will cover the difference in pay when an employee’s military salary is less than what they would earn at Wal-Mart.

The policy covers any military assignment from three days up to five years. The company already offers differential pay to some active service members. The new policy expands the existing program, and it now covers employees who want to do “voluntary services,” which includes basic training.

Former Brigadier General Gary Profit, director of military programs at Wal-Mart, said the majority of employees who leave for military duty would take a pay cut without the program. Wal-Mart said it has hired 170,000 veterans since 2013 as it continues toward its pledge to hire 250,000 veterans who have been honorably discharged by 2020.

Less than four years after opening a Neighborhood Market store in Boulder, Colo., Wal-Mart said it will close the store on June 16. The decision to shutter the store was motivated by the changing nature of retail, including the shift to online shopping, according to Wal-Mart corporate spokeswoman Anne Hatfield.

She told the media the Boulder store closing was an isolated event. Overall she said the format is doing well with more than 600 locations around the country. The Boulder store employs around 70 workers who will be given the option to transfer to other stores.

Wal-Mart has just the one store in Boulder and said it has no plans to remain in the city, but there are nearly 100 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs operating across the state.

It’s been several months in the making but Sam’s Club recently launched a flagship store on the Chinese online retailer JD.com website offering Chinese consumers imports from Sam’s Club in the U.S.

Sam’s is initially offering about 200 products for shoppers in China. The initial focus is on selling personal care products, nutritional items and baby supplies that mostly aren’t available in country.

Wal-Mart owns a 12% stake in JD.com, the second largest e-tailer in China behind Alibaba. Walmart International CEO David Cheesewright said last year that Sam’s Club was popular with Chinese consumers. He said as incomes are rising, so is the desire for U.S. imports which can be purchased at Sam’s Club. The retailer operates 15 physical stores, but now the online store on JD.com will give more consumers access to items like Waterpik Ultra as well as 30 Member’s Mark products and glucosamine joint health tablets.

“Sam’s Club has a strong focus on quality, which is one of the key reasons in winning our members’ trust, and why JD is such a great match,” said Andrew Miles, president, Sam’s Club China. “The ‘Member-First’ priority has been our unchanged belief since entering China. … The JD Worldwide platform enables us to offer an extended range of new and quality products to JD’s 236 million customers directly from US Sam’s Clubs and further make our members in China truly feel that life in better in the club.”