Best Buy will raise the starting hourly wage for all U.S. employees to $15, effective Aug. 2, the electronics retailer said on Tuesday.
The company said sales were up by about 2.5 percent so far this quarter, which started May 3, over the same period last year.
“Strong consumer demand, combined with shopping experiences that emphasize safety and convenience, has helped produce our sales results to date,” Corie Barry, Best Buy’s chief executive, said in a statement.
The company furloughed 51,000 hourly store employees in the United States on in April, out of a total of about 125,000 employees. Hourly employees who continued to work received incremental hourly appreciation pay, which will end on Aug. 1.
Since June 12, Best Buy has brought about half of its furloughed employees back to work, the company said.
The wage increase may be an effort by the company to incentivize employees to start working again, rather than continuing to stay home and receive unemployment benefits.
“If unemployment insurance benefits are really keeping people out of the labor market, employers will have to raise wages in order to attract workers,” said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
Best Buy follows other major retailers in raising base wages: Target raised its minimum wage to $15 on July 5, and Amazon did the same in 2018. Walmart’s starting wage is $12 per hour.