By Tamera Adams

Consulting firm Hay Group has revealed that 26 percent of leading American retailers surveyed in a recent study said they are hiring fewer seasonal workers this year. An article on Reuters Shop Talk blog speculates that an increase in minimum wage is the culprit behind the cutbacks.

Craig Rowley, vice president of Hay Group's retail practice, said a reduction in holiday help may result in low-stocked shelves and less-than-clean stores. Well, what about tired and irate staff?

"The Search for Holiday Help Starts Early," an article that appeared in last Sunday's edition of The New York Times, reports that luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. began its recruitment strategy immediately after Memorial Day. The Times stated that Linda Layne, manager of human resources for Tiffany's flagship store, said "there was a 'sense of urgency' this year about finding good workers amid a tough recruitment environment."

Hopefully, retailers with the intention of cutting back on seasonal help participated in the recruitment rush as well. Hiring a few last-minute, improperly screened holiday employees with the intention of overworking them can yield negative results for both the retailer and the customer.

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