In a surprising move, Gap Inc. informed its employees on Wednesday that it would set $9 as the minimum hourly rate for its United States work force this year and then establish a minimum of $10 next year.Chaser:
Gap said this move would ultimately raise pay for 65,000 of its 90,000 American employees, including those at Banana Republic, Old Navy and other stores.
Gap is making this move as many states consider raising their minimum wage, and as Republicans and Democrats debate a bill that includes a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016.
President Obama has endorsed the increase, and has campaigned for it at stops around the country.
Apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N) said it would close a quarter of Gap specialty stores in North America over the next few years, including 140 this year, potentially affecting thousands of jobs as the company struggles with a slump in sales at its namesake brand.
San Francisco-based Gap also said it would cut 250 jobs at its headquarters.
The company did not say how many employees would be laid off as a result of the store closures. As of Jan. 31, Gap had about 141,000 full- and part-time employees in about 3,700 company-owned and franchise stores worldwide.