Wal-Mart relaxes employee dress code, allows some jeans

Denim days are ahead for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees.

The Bentonville, Ark., company told employees Wednesday that they will be allowed to wear khaki or black denim pants to work starting July 1. Workers with more labor-intensive jobs, such as in the gardening department, will be allowed to wear T-shirts and blue denim.

The dress code changes, announced at a meeting with 3,000 U.S. employees at the University of Arkansas, is an attempt to improve employee morale, said Kory Lundberg, Wal-Mart spokesman.

“It’s to really give a little more ownership to associates and foster that teamwork and excitement in stores,” he said. “It’s all part of making Wal-Mart a better place to work and a better place to shop.”

The company’s current dress code is khaki or black pants with a white or blue collared shirt and blue company vest, Lundberg said.

Wal-Mart has been under intense pressure to improve employee pay and scheduling.

On Tuesday, Wal-Mart said it would increase the starting wages of managers and workers in specialized departments such as the deli as part of a larger effort to upgrade the company’s hiring, scheduling, training and compensation programs in the United States.

Another popular announcement at the employee meeting was the return of Wal-Mart Radio, which will be produced by a DJ on staff and broadcast to individual stores.

When Wal-Mart Radio ended about nine years ago, many stores used the PA system to play CDs. Sometimes the rotation was thin, and one CD would be played on repeat all day, Lundberg said.

One particular offender mentioned at the meeting — Justin Bieber.

The return of Wal-Mart Radio was met with some of the loudest applause of the day, Lundberg said. But he couldn’t promise that Bieber wouldn’t return.

“It wouldn’t be unusual to hear,” he said. “But you’ll hear more than that. It’ll be a much broader variety.”

Shares of Wal-Mart closed up 35 cents, or 0.47 percent, at $74.88.

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times

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