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The Pay Gap Between Retail CEOs and Store Employees Will Astound You

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Image via Getty
Image via Getty

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There's been a lot of talk recently about the eyebrow-raising pay gap between retail company CEOs and the store employees below them. At last week's Code Conference, Walmart's CEO (who reels in $10 million/year) said he was no different then Walmart's store employees, including the 30,000 who are paid at minimum wage. Two days before that, the LA Times ran an unforgiving piece on the subject, saying that "...many CEOs now pull down so much more than their own employees that it's an ugly insult to working families." And, lest we forget, Target's former CEO Gregg Steinhafel was given a severance package estimated at $37.8 million when he was fired from the company in April.

In light of that information, we dug into the total compensation of employees at 20 top retailers to find out just how big the pay gap was at these nationwide brands. As it turns out, the gap is shocking. It's not just the mega-retailers like Target and Macy's who are shelling out huge amounts to compensate their higher-ups—fashion brands like Ralph Lauren and Coach as well as teen retailer Aeropostale and comeback-in-the-making brand Gap are compensating their CEOs more than 100x what the average store manager for each retailer pulls in.

Data sourced from the most recent US Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Glassdoor.com. Click to enlarge image.

As the graph details, it's not uncommon for CEOs to be paid hundreds of times more then what the average store employee makes. Ralph Lauren was the worst offender, with the CEO bringing in a total compensation of $26,157,178 in 2013 while the average store manager made just over $67,000. Surprisingly, J.Crew showed the lowest pay gap, with CEO Mickey Drexler making $235,000 while J.Crew store managers were paid $59,150 on average, which is only 4x less then their CEO. To be fair, that was his total compensation in 2013. In 2011, however, he made $13,187,309. Another caveat: Target's CEO made $12,953,214 before he left the company in April. While the search for his replacement is still ongoing, the interim CEO makes just $4,633,856.

· Millionaire Walmart CEO Says He's Just Another Associate [Racked]
· Can Once-Mighty Teen Retailer Aeropostale Save Itself? [Racked]
· Gap's Uphill Path: The Steps That Could Fix America's Retailer [Racked]