Under Armour Becomes Latest Retailer to Boost Hourly Wage to $15

Under Armour Inc. is boosting hourly wages to better attract and keep the employees it needs to expand its online business.

The sportswear retailer said it’s raising the minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 an hour starting June 6 -- an increase of as much as 50% for some staff. Canadian workers will also get a bump. In total, more than 8,000 people, including almost 90% of its retail and distribution-house employees, will receive a raise, the company said in a statement.

“The reality is from a competitive standpoint of hiring, we know that we compete not just within our industry for talent but also outside of the industry to places like Amazon,” Stephanie Pugliese, president of the Americas region at Under Armour, said in an interview. “That said, the most important thing for us was making sure that we internally were providing the right pay for our teammates and rewarding all the hard work that’s been done.”

The increases are intended to help support Under Armour’s direct-to-consumer efforts, a major part of Chief Executive Officer Patrik Frisk’s turnaround plan and key to competing digitally with bigger rivals like Nike Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Under Armour launched a new North American e-commerce platform last July, which Frisk has attributed to helping the brand accelerate its digital sales. But those soaring online sales can’t be shipped as efficiently if the companies’ stores or warehouses are understaffed.

The announcement follows a series of similar wage hikes by retail giants, fast-food chains and ride-hailing companies this spring. With more job openings than applicants, companies are increasingly offering referral and signing bonuses, rarely needed before to fill entry-level, low-wage jobs.

The incentives are aimed at attracting talent into tens of thousands of open roles, including 75,000 logistics positions at Amazon, 20,000 at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and 10,000 at company-owned McDonald’s Corp. stores, all announced during the previous work week alone. Under Armour has more than 3,000 open roles in retail locations and distribution houses that it’s trying to fill.

“We know that this market is extremely competitive,” Pugliese said.

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