Wal-Mart Says It Returned $1.2 Billion to Hourly Employees in Fiscal '08

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Wal-Mart Says It Returned $1.2 Billion to Hourly Employees in Fiscal '08

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said yesterday it shared almost $1.2 billion with its U.S. hourly associates through profit-sharing and 401(k) contributions, stock purchase plan, and associate merchandise discounts for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2008.

During the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2008, Wal-Mart said it contributed:
-- $724.4 million to 838,955 hourly associates in profit-sharing and 401(k) contributions
-- $50.1 million to 764,098 hourly associates toward the company's associate stock purchase plan
-- $420.2 million in discounted merchandise to hourly associates and their family members through its merchandise discount program

Additionally, Wal-Mart awarded more than $636.4 million in bonuses earlier this year to Wal-Mart store and Sam's Club hourly associates in the U.S.

Wal-Mart contributes a certain percentage of an eligible associate's pay to the profit sharing and 401(k) plan.

In other Wal-Mart news, the retailer said it will award more than $8 million in scholarships through three programs that the Wal-Mart Foundation provides annually.

The three programs are:

-- Sam Walton Community Scholarships: Each Wal-Mart store and Sam's Club will present two of the $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are open to the general community and are awarded based on financial need, academic record, community involvement, and work experience. Last year, more than 7,200 high school seniors received scholarships for a total of more than $7.2 million.

-- Associate Scholarships: These $2,000 scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors who work for Wal-Mart or are dependents of a Wal-Mart associate, and have been employed by Wal-Mart for at least six months.

-- Higher REACH Scholarships: These scholarships pay for college classes in amounts up to $2,000 per individual. The program is open to associates who have been out of high school at least one year and employed by the company for at least six months, and are planning to further their education by taking college classes.