Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Walmart says it gave 17,000 of its associates in South Carolina a cash bonus based on the company's recent performance.

The company said Monday it gave distributed $3.4 million in the state to 17,000 employees. That number includes 3,000 people working in Columbia area stores.

The extra money, along with an annual pay raise, was included in last week's paychecks.

Nationwide, 850,000 Walmart associates got a total of $157 million in bonus money.

The company said during the last three months of the year, the company recorded its strongest comp sales performance of the year. They also said customer service and inventory improves.

“Our associates’ hard work makes the difference in our stores’ performance,” said Sean Real, regional manager of Walmart’s South Carolina stores. “The quarterly bonus is one way we’re thanking our associates and sharing in the success together.”