Brian Cornell. Picture: REUTERS
Brian Cornell. Picture: REUTERS

New York — Target Corporation is giving thousands of its employees a pay increase in October, hoping to stay ahead of Walmart and other rivals in the war for talent.

The retailer announced plans on Monday to boost its minimum hourly wage to $11. Target will raise the rate to $15 by the end of 2020.

The increase will apply to the 100,000 seasonal employees it is hiring for the holidays, but the company declined to say how many of its 323,000 regular employees would see a lift.

It would not disclose how much the plan would cost, saying that more details would be disclosed at next spring’s investor conference. The move is the latest volley in a wage war Walmart started two years ago by raising its minimum wage to $10 in two steps, affecting more than 1-million workers.

The retail industry is the largest private-sector employer in the US and competition for staff has heated up as the job market improves.

Chains such as Costco Wholesale have boosted wages, while states such as Massachusetts and Washington have established $11 an hour as the going rate for all workers.

Target’s latest announcement contrasts with how it has responded in recent years to Walmart’s wage hikes. The firm raised its minimum wage in 2016 to $10 an hour, but without a formal announcement.

CEO Brian Cornell declined to deal with the shift on a teleconference, although spokeswoman Jenna Reck said that the company was making a bigger deal out of the new wage floor as it marked "a much bolder and more vocal investment in our team."


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