Here’s How the Majors Will Be Hiring This Holiday Season

MajorsOct 18, 2018

Here’s How the Majors Will Be Hiring This Holiday Season

Plus, the NRF and Deloitte make retail sales predictions for November and December.

Macy’s said it will hire 80,000 seasonal workers for the 2018 holiday season, about the same as last year. Pictured here is the Macy’s store in West Palm Beach, Florida.

New York—Prognosticators have made their predictions for 2018 holiday sales and, if they are right, then retailers are in for a solid season.

The National Retail Federation said it expects retail sales in November and December—excluding automobiles, gas and restaurants—to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over last year with spending totaling $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion.

This exceeds the average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years and is in line with the NRF’s prediction that annual retail sales for 2018 will increase at least 4.5 percent compared with 2017.

“With this year’s forecast, we continue to see strong momentum from consumers as they do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The combination of increased job creation, improved wages, tamed inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”

Deloitte’s sales forecast is even more bullish, with the firm predicting holiday sales will increase 5 to 5.6 percent over last year. The firm also expects a 17 to 22 percent increase in e-commerce sales in 2018, compared with 16.6 percent in 2017.

Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster, Daniel Bachman, said the anticipated holiday sales growth is likely because of solid disposable personal income growth as well as a strong labor market, elevated consumer confidence and a stable personal savings rate.

In addition to these predictions, a good indicator of the strength or weakness of the coming season is an examination of major retailers and their holiday hiring plans; hiring more extra help is generally an indication that the retailers think more consumers will be shopping.

And if that’s the case, 2018 could be a big one.

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, holiday hiring announcements this year have surpassed the previous record total of about 696,000 seasonal jobs set in 2014. So far, companies hiring for the holidays have announced plans to add 704,000 jobs for the upcoming season.

The surge in hiring comes as consumer confidence hits an 18-year high, according to the firm.

Interestingly, Challenger also noted that seasonal jobs no longer are just in retail; with the rise of online shopping, transport and warehousing companies also are looking for holiday employees.

Here’s are the seasonal hiring plans of a few of the nation’s largest retailers.

Target will hire about 120,000 seasonal employees to serve guests across

its 1,839 stores in the United States, which is a 20 percent increase over last year. On top of that, it will hire 7,500 more employees for its distribution and fulfillment centers.

This is the largest holiday hiring plan by a traditional retailer since Challenger began tracking these announcements in 2012, it said, and is equal only to Amazon’s announcement to hire 120,000 workers last year.

Amazon, however, has scaled back its holiday hiring this year. The Seattle-based retailer said it plans to bring on only about 100,000 extra employees for the season.

Macy’s will hire approximately 80,000 seasonal workers for positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers across the country, about the same as last year.

The company said about 23,500 of those will be based in direct-to-consumer fulfillment facilities to support sales generated through an omnichannel strategy, which is 5,500 more positions in that area than last year, indicating the importance of omnichannel this holiday season.

J.C. Penney is hiring more than 39,000 seasonal associates nationwide across its stores, supply chain and customer care centers this year, which is just slightly less than the 40,000 it hired last year.

Kohl’s intends to bring on 90,000 seasonal employees across its more than 1,100 stores, nine distribution centers, five e-commerce fulfillment centers and credit centers nationwide.

Last year, the retailer did not release specific holiday hiring numbers, saying only that it expected hiring to be at similar levels as in recent years. In 2016, the company hired about 69,000 and the year before that it was 67,000.

Walmart, meanwhile, told National Jeweler that for the past two years, it has given holiday hours to current employees, noting that the strategy has “worked very well” and generated positive feedback from customers and associates.

The retailer said it will employ the same strategy for the upcoming holiday season; though there might be some hiring on a store-by-store basis, the majority of stores will give extra hours to current employees.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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