MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Best Buy will boost its starting hourly wage to $15 an hour, the company announced Tuesday.

The pay increase will begin on Aug. 2. Hourly workers will also receive a 4% increase in pay, after which those who are not yet at $15 an hour will have their pay bumped to the $15 starting wage.

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In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Richfield-based company furloughed approximately 51,000 domestic hourly employees. Those hourly employees who were working during the pandemic received incremental hourly appreciation pay, which will end on Aug. 1.

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However, the company started bringing employees back on June 15, and since then, approximately half of the furloughed employees have returned to work.

Compared to the second quarter of 2019, Best Buy has seen a 2.5% increase in sales. The company has also seen a 15% increase in in-store sales compared to the last year.

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“Strong consumer demand, combined with shopping experiences that emphasize safety and convenience, has helped produce our sales results to date,” said Best Buy CEO Corie Barry. “None of this would be possible without the effort and energy of our front-line employees working in stores, supply chain facilities and customers’ homes. Today’s announcement on pay reflects an ongoing evolution and investment in how we compensate them for their critical work.”