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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple Inc. has informed Apple Store employees throughout the US that they'll soon be receiving hourly pay increases of as much as 25 percent.

The decision comes after a review period in which it was determined that the some 25,000 employees at US Apple Stores were being underpaid; the Journal writes that they typically have received $9 to $15 an hour, with Genius Bar employees getting up to $30 an hour.

The raises were instigated by John Browett, the new head of Apple Retail who joined the company two months ago from Dixon Retail, a UK electronics chain. At least part of the impetus, the story notes, was the fact that in some locations, employees were being poached by Microsoft Stores being opened nearby.

Apple Stores are said to have contributed $14 billion in sales to Apple's bottom line last year.
KC's View:
Even in a good economy, a 25 percent raise would be considered to be pretty extravagant. But these days ... this ought to do a lot for morale in the Apple Store chain.