Wal-Mart Canada pays out record bonuses

Wal-Mart Canada store associates are marking a successful fiscal 2007 by sharing a record $45.4 million in bonus payments, based on company and store goals, according to the retailer.

“This represents the company's greatest bonus payout in its 14-year history,” the retailer said in a statement.

Wal-Mart Canada began a bonus program in 1994 when the retailer took over the country’s Woolco stores. This year, 242 of 299 stores nationwide paid bonuses to eligible part- and full-time associates under the program -- “an average reward was nearly $1,000,” according to the company.

“In keeping with a policy of open communication, Wal-Mart store management shares detailed sales and profitability progress figures with store associates daily,” the statement said. “This year's record bonus payment reflects Wal-Mart Canada's success in a year in which it responded to significant industry challenges”

Successful initiatives included responding quickly to the higher Canadian dollar with lower prices and keeping stores opened “around the clock” in the lead-up to Christmas.

"Pricing and operational strategies, the continued growth of our supercentre program, marketing campaigns promoting our price leadership and many other factors brought customers to our stores last year,” said Jim Thompson, Wal-Mart Canada's senior vp-operations. “However, it was our store associates that delivered a phenomenal performance in a tough year for retail."