Is Wal-Mart mulling support for wage hike?

Wal-Mart on Wednesday shot down a report that it is considering whether to support an increase in the minimum wage.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Wal-Mart was looking at supporting an increase. That would be a boon to President Obama and Democrats in their push to increase the wage to $10.10 per hour this year.


But Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told The Hill that the company is simply evaluating the financial impact on its bottom line of various proposals. An increase in the wage would tend to increase the retailer’s payroll, but could also spark a larger increase in sales from customers with more money to spend.

“We’re neutral on these things, the decision is up to politicians and elected officials to make,” Tovar said. “What we are looking at, like any responsible business would do, is the potential impact of these types of these legislation.”

“Looking at that does not mean we are looking at taking a position,” he said. “We are not supporting it and we are not opposing it.”

Tovar would not say that Wal-Mart would never support an increase, only that at this time it had determined it is best to be neutral. He said that Wal-Mart will oppose measures, such as one recently defeated in the District of Columbia, to impose different minimum wages on different types of retailers.

Wal-Mart's neutral position contrasts with that of the National Retail Federation (NRF), which is actively lobbying against the minimum wage increase.

“If you want to create minimum opportunities, then raise the minimum wage. We welcome the president’s focus on the economy and jobs, but a minimum wage hike runs counter to that goal,” the NRF said after Obama called for the increase during the State of the Union address last month.