“Let’s just say the numbers can be made to fib”

Walmart shareholders haven’t had a great year. Despite a hot market, Walmart stock has been flat and FY 2014 sales were up just 1.6%. But don’t worry: The flat stock performance didn’t hurt pay for Walmart’s top executives! As Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times wrote this weekend, “when it comes to figuring the performance of top executives, let’s just say the numbers can be made to fib.”

The Times detailed the ways in which Walmart made “adjustments” to various performance measurements, far more than in previous years, to allow executives to meet their performance bars. One specific example given is that of U.S. CEO Bill Simon. Without the adjusted results, Mr. Simon would have missed his target sales growth of 2% for the U.S. unit, which grew by just 1.8%. But with the adjustments, which included discounting the impact of cuts to food stamp benefits, Mr. Simon eked out a 2.03% growth rate and received an additional $1.5 million in compensation. Mr. Simon’s total compensation was $13 million.

But, of course, virtually all other Walmart employees do not benefit from these kinds of “adjustments” when their bonuses are calculated, if they even get bonuses. The Times article quotes Mary Pat Tifft, a 20-year associate from Kenosha, Wisconsin:

“Walmart associates are having their hours cut because of declining sales but executives are still getting their bonuses,” she said. “It’s ridiculous that they can keep receiving their compensation because they keep moving the numbers around.”

What do you think? How are Home Office employees faring? Let us know at news@whosmindingthestore.org.

What do you think?