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Seasonal Hiring Plans Suggest Retailers Expect You to Spend More

Oct. 21, 2014
Black Friday, Shopping
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In preparation for Black Friday and the rest of the holiday shopping season, retailers are getting set to expand their staffs. Some major retailers have released their seasonal hiring plans, and judging by these figures, shoppers will be hitting the stores – and websites – in full force this year.

The Numbers

While you’re focused on finding the best deals this season, stores are focused on prepping their staffs for you and your fellow shoppers. Overall retailers are expected to hire 800,000 temporary employees this holiday season. This is the highest anticipated figure since 1999, according to Fortune.

Indeed, holiday hiring in general has been steadily increasing since 2008.  Here’s a roundup of some noteworthy seasonal hiring figures – as well as how they compare with last year’s – from some of the nation’s best-known companies:

  • UPS expects to hire 90,000-95,000 seasonal employees – close to double last year’s 55,000 figure.
  • Macy’s will be bringing on 86,000 workers, slightly more than the 83,000 the department store hired for the 2013 season.
  • Target will gain 70,000 temporary employees during the holidays, the same number the company hired last year at this time.
  • Kohl’s is set to bring on more than 67,000 seasonal employees, a relatively substantial increase over the 50,000 hired for the holidays last year.
  • Gap Inc. (including Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta stores) will add 63,000 seasonal jobs in the company’s first-ever Holiday Hiring Blitz.
  • Walmart intends to hire 60,000 seasonal associates, about 10% more than last year.
  • FedEx anticipates hiring 50,000 workers, more than the 40,000 temporary employees added last year.
  • Toys R Us plans to hire 45,000 seasonal employees, more than doubling its workforce.
  • JCPenney will add 35,000 seasonal employees – similar to last year’s figure – to its workforce.
  • GameStop announced plans to hire 25,000 employees, nearly 47% more than the company hired for the 2013 holiday season.
  • Meijer is set to hire more than 10,000 new team members, up from 9,000 last year.
  • Bass Pro Shops will hire an additional 50 seasonal associates per retail store location.

More Spending, Better Service?

So what does this mean for consumers? The higher hiring figures for 2014 could indicate that retailers expect seasonal spending to increase this season. The average shopper spent $730 on gifts, food and decorations during winter 2013, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s possible that this figure will rise this season.

Additional workers may also mean that shoppers will have a more enjoyable and hassle-free experience. More clerks at stores may mean shorter lines. More employees at shipping giants such as UPS and FedEx, for example, may help ensure that deliveries arrive on time.

The hiring expectations also highlight the increasing growth of online ordering as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar shopping. Stores have taken notice. Not only have they begun offering more online Black Friday deals in recent years, but they are now also adjusting staffing levels to accommodate online shopping.

Macy’s, for example, will be devoting 10,000 seasonal positions to its online order fulfillment centers this season, up from the 6,600 workers added to these centers last year. The same is true for department store Kohl’s. The retailer anticipated hiring 6,400 seasonal distribution center workers in 2013, but that figure is now at 9,300 employees for 2014. A portion of seasonal hiring allotments at other retailers will be devoted to fulfillment or distribution centers as well.