Almost 10,800 Walmart employees in metro Atlanta are getting a pay bump this week thanks to bonuses from the giant retailer.
The Arkansas-based chain said it is paying $6.3 million in bonuses to 10,798 metro Atlanta employees based on the fourth-quarter performance of the stores where they work. That averages out to $583 per employee.
Last September, about 1 million employees company-wide got bonuses averaging $220, according to Reuters.
Employees will also see annual raises in this week's paychecks, the company said.
With 31,000 employees in Georgia, the company rivals Delta Air Lines as one of the state's largest private employers. The Atlanta airline also has paid out employee bonuses in recent years based on performance measures.
Walmart's pay perks mark something of a change in direction.
The discount retailer, which also operates Sam's Club stores, has carpeted the nation with big box discount stores but also has drawn criticism for low wages and putting independent stores out of business. More recently, it has faced challenges from online retailers, particularly Amazon.
Last year, Walmart promised to pay most employees at least $10 an hour, and to begin paying bonuses.
Nationwide, Walmart said it is paying out $157 million in bonuses this week to its 850,000 employees based on results for its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31. For the year, Walmart said it paid out more than $700 million in bonuses.
"The purpose of the bonuses is to thank our associates for their hard work and superb performance," said Paul Lewellen, Regional General Manager for Walmart in the southeast. "When our associates succeed, the entire company succeeds."
Last month, Walmart reported that profit for fiscal 2016 fell 7 percent to $13.6 billion. Revenue increased 0.8 percent, to almost $486 billion. But Walmart said it also had its best comparable-store sales growth of the year during its fourth quarter -- up 1.8 percent.