The Bane of Walmart Managers: 'NIL Picks'

'WSJ' spends a day in the life of a $240K-a-year manager in Texas
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2024 4:40 PM CDT
What It's Like to Run a Walmart Supercenter
A Walmart store in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Walmart managers typically pull in six figures—even up to $400,000 if the store is big enough—and the Wall Street Journal spent a day with one such manager to get a sense of the job. Nichole Hart runs the Supercenter in Bellmead, Texas, and made about $240,000 last year—a salary of $119,000, plus a $120,000 bonus. The 39-year-old started at the same store as a part-timer 20 years ago and worked her way up to becoming one of the chain's 4,700 store managers in the US. "They determine success or failure," says Kieran Shanahan, chief operating officer for Walmart US. One current challenge for managers is navigating the shift to automated systems, Shanahan adds. "It's hard. You are living in two worlds." The story provides a sense of that as Hart makes her rounds—she walks 8 to 10 miles a day in her store—and reviews three different inventory systems.

"The hardest thing is the uncertainty," she says. "You don't know what you are going to walk into." On this day, that involves a shopper filming as he asks her why they don't have Snoop Cereal (the rapper's fans are making a point) and an unexpected second truck delivery. Hart's day revolves around walking the store with her underlings and also with her own regional boss to assess displays and strategy, and to spot problems such as NIL Picks—an item being out of stock even though an online shopper has been told it's there. She's also in lots of meetings, with her junior managers to go over sales goals, with HR to assess hiring, etc. Hart works 7am to 5pm except on Tuesdays, when she works noon to 10pm with the night crew. She has Wednesdays and Sundays off. "I love my job (but) it doesn't turn off," she says. Read the full story. (Or check out other longform recaps.)

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