The owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods stores said Wednesday that it will boost pay for its U.S. workers to at least $9 per hour.
The announcement by TJX Cos. comes a week after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would increase wages for its employees and is a sign that more competitors may follow suit. Low-paying retailers are having a harder time retaining workers as the job market improves.
"This pay initiative is an important part of our strategies to continue attracting and retaining the best talent," TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz said in a statement.
TJX spokeswoman Doreen Thompson declined to say what workers currently earn. A recent Credit Suisse report estimates TJX's current hourly pay at about $8.24. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
TJX said hourly workers will start to receive the pay increase in June. In 2016, the company plans to pay all associates who have worked at its stores for more than six months at least $10 per hour.
The company's 191,000 associates around the world restock shelves, greet customers and ring up purchases at the cash register.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is raising entry level wages to at least $9 an hour in April and to at least $10 an hour by February of next year. Wal-Mart said the change will affect about 500,000 workers. Also this year, Swedish furniture seller Ikea gave workers at its U.S. division a 17 percent average raise to $10.76 an hour. And clothing chain Gap Inc. raised its minimum hourly wage to $9 last year and to $10 this year.
TJX, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, operates 3,395 stores, including six of its outdoor goods chain Sierra Trading Post. Its shares rose 53 cents to $68.27 in morning trading Wednesday.