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nnnnn as major retailers get ready to release first quarter results in the coming weeks labor costs will be a key focus on earnings call already this year walmart target and t. j. max have raised their minimum wage to nine dollars an hour that compares to a federal minimum of seven twenty five fast food employees have been especially vocal in the fight for better pay on tax day thousands of workers in more than two hundred cities took part in demonstrations calling for a federal minimum wage increase to fifteen dollars an hour just ahead of those strikes mcdonald's announced it would raise wages for some of its employees to ten bucks , with unemployment at a seven year low moves like these are putting pressure on other retailers to follow suit or risk losing employees and that could take a bite out of profits chains like bed bath and beyond and buffalo wild wings have sat there feeling the impact of higher labor costs on their bottom line investors will be watching whether companies are able to cut other costs raise prices or boost sales to make up the difference