"In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, we made a number of temporary decisions, including providing appreciation pay to hourly field employees, and we're now pleased to evolve to a more structural approach that significantly invests in paying and supporting them in ways that they have asked for and so clearly earned," Best Buy CEO Corie Berry said in an announcement on July 21.
It's a 4 percent pay bump for hourly workers, replacing the incremental hourly appreciation pay that began on March 22 as short-term incentive compensation for their working during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees who are still not at the $15 per hour wage after the 4 percent increase will have their pay automatically increased to the new starting wage.
Since June 15 when more than 800 Best Buy locations across the U.S. began taking customers without an appointment, the company's retail sales grew approximately 15 percent through July 18 compared to the prior year, while online sales growth was approximately 185 percent compared to the prior year.
Second-quarter sales were up about 2.5 percent through July 18, compared to the same period a year ago, including sales growth of 2 percent in the United States and 8 percent internationally.
It also comes following the company's decision to furlough approximately 51,000 domestic hourly employees beginning on April 19. Since June 15, the company has brought back roughly half of the furloughed employees and has extended health benefits at no cost through Sept. 5 to the remaining furloughed employees currently enrolled in a company health plan.
Best Buy's decision to raise its hourly pay follows a similar move made by competitor Target earlier this month. The $15 per hour wage has also been in place for workers at Amazon since November 2018.
The $15 per hour minimum wage is more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.