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Wal-Mart Vs. Costco: How Do They Really Compare?

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Here's a breakdown of how the country's two biggest retailers really fare head-to-head.

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This article was written by Claire Gordon and originally appeared on AOL Jobs.

Every villain needs a hero, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) have become the dark lord and white knight of low-budget retail. In recent months, Wal-Mart has been criticized for allegedly underpaying and mistreating its employees, while Costco has been lauded as a kind of corporate Dumbledore, nurturing its workers, and fighting to make the world a kinder and more affordable place.

So how do the country's two biggest retailers really fare head-to-head? Check out the breakdown below.

Average Cashier Salary
Wal-Mart: $8.53 [Glassdoor]
Costco: $15.60 [Glassdoor]

Average Pay for Low-Level Managerial Position
Wal-Mart: $44,774 [Glassdoor, assistant store manager]
Costco: $53,956 [Glassdoor, supervisor]

Number Of Employees Receiving Health Insurance Coverage
Wal-Mart: "More than half" of employees. [Businessweek]
Costco: 88% of employees. [Businessweek]

Turnover Rate
Wal-Mart: 37% [self-reported]
Costco: 24% [InvestorPlace]

Position on the Minimum Wage
Wal-Mart: Supported raising the federal minimum wage in 2006, but has remained mum in the recent debate. [NBC News]
Costco: Supports raising the federal minimum wage to over $10-an-hour. CEO Craig Jelinek wrote a letter urging Congress to do so. [The Huffington Post]

Percent of Workforce That Is Unionized
Walmart: 0 [Reuters]
Costco: 15 [Businessweek]

Opportunity for Advancement:
Wal-Mart: "Nearly three-quarters of our store management teams started out in hourly positions." [The Huffington Post]
Costco: 70% of warehouse managers allegedly started as cart-pushers and cashiers. On principle, the retailer doesn't hire business school graduates, and instead sponsors its lower-level employees through graduate school. [Businessweek]

CEO Compensation (2012)
Wal-Mart: $19.3 million ($1.3 million salary, $4.4 million bonus, $13.6 million in stock grants) [Businessweek]
Costco: $4.9 million ($650,000 salary, $200,000 bonus, around $4 million in stock options) [Businessweek]

Most Recent Quarterly Year Over Year Earnings
Wal-Mart: Up 1.1% [Wall Street Journal]
Costco: Up 19% [NBC News]

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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