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Walmart testing higher minimum wage for some employees

A man passes in front a "bodegon" named "Mini Walmart" in Puerto Cabello

(Reuters) - Walmart Inc is testing a higher starting wage for certain newly created jobs in about 500 U.S. stores, as it looks to improve in-store experience for customers amid intense competition.

The company would offer team associates, a role it recently created, a starting wage of $12 an hour, Walmart spokeswoman Jami Lamontagne said.

That compares with Walmart's minimum wage of $11 at its more than 5,000 stores across the United States.

The team associates would be cross-trained in several functions and will have more responsibility, Lamontagne said.

The big-box retailer last raised its entry-level wages for U.S. hourly employees to $11 in early 2018 and trails rivals, including Costco Wholesale Corp, Amazon Inc and Target Corp on the minimum wage front.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru and Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)