Walmart Sets 3-for-1 Stock Split; Shares Rise

(Bloomberg) — Walmart Inc. announced a 3-for-1 stock split, saying a lower price will help more of its employees buy shares.

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“Sam Walton believed it was important to keep our share price in a range where purchasing whole shares, rather than fractions, was accessible to all of our associates,” Walmart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in a statement Tuesday.

The world’s largest retailer has an existing stock-purchase program for employees, through which they buy stock directly and the company matches 15% of the purchase, up to $1,800 a year.

The company said Monday that it will offer annual stock grants as a new incentive for store managers. Starting in April, US store managers will receive as much as $20,000 in company stock, bringing potential pay for the most successful ones to more than $400,000.

Walmart recently said that the average store manager’s salary will increase to $128,000 from $117,000 and that it is redesigning its bonus program so that store profits play a bigger role in deciding awards.

Walmart shares jumped as much as 2% to $168.87 in extended trading in New York, nearing its all-time high of $169.78 in November.

The new shares will be issued to holders of record as of Feb. 22. The split is Walmart’s 11th since 1972, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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