Target and Kohls announced that they have begun their holiday hiring, and are giving out mixed messages.
A year ago today we told you that 36% of retailers were expecting to hire more workers for the 2012 holiday season than they had in 2011. Last year Macy’s hired 80,000 seasonal workers, a 2.5% increase over the year before. They have not said anything yet about their plans for 2013.
In their September 18th press release last year, Kohl’s stated they would be hiring more than 52,700 employees for the holiday season, a 10% increase over 2011. Yesterday, they announced that this year they plan to hire over 50,000 employees, making the goal for 2013 fall about halfway between the 2011 and 2012 hiring goals.
Last year Target hired 88,000 seasonal employees but this year anticipates a 20% drop in temporary workers, only hiring about 70,000.
What does it all mean?
Here’s a few reasons we believe retailers are cutting back on their holiday hires.
- A knee-jerk reaction to lower than expected Back to School sales this summer/fall.
- More focus on big sales throughout the year: There was a big trend of “Black Friday in July” sales and retailers may have taken on more summer hires to accommodate these sales that will be retained for the holidays and wouldn’t show up in these holiday hire forecasts.
- Anticipated slow-down in overall sales this holiday season: Retailers are trying to avoid being stuck with more seasonal employees than they need.
- A shift from offline to online holiday sales: This means more stores will be beefing up their warehouse and call centers/other customer service centers instead of in-store workers.
- With Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah both occurring on November 28th, one of the latest days for Thanksgiving and earliest for Hanukkah, more consumers will be getting their holiday shopping before the big post Thanksgiving push.
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