Each year, hundreds of thousands of temporary workers are hired by retailers to handle the demands of the holiday season. The number of seasonal workers added is considered a bellwether for the economy. This season, the projected number of additional hires is unchanged from last year and sales are forecast to be $465 billion, up 2.8% from last year. It is not a recovery when things to improve from a bad year. While some retailers are doing well, others are reducing their seasonal hiring substantially. 24/7 Wall St. looked at the retailers hiring the most people this year to illustrate how important this trend is to the economy and these businesses.
Companies hire seasonal workers for a number of reasons: They are cheap, often earning $8 to $10 per hour, and are willing to work odd hours. This enables retailers to satisfy increased demands without adding a permanent expense to their bottom line.
The massive influx of seasonal workers, which can increase the total workforce of a company by 100% or more, serves another function for retailers: Hiring so many people for a short period allows employers to perform a large-scale talent search. A select group of seasonal workers who prove themselves can get full-time positions after the holidays are over. According to Anne Marie Bishop, JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) spokeswoman, “Getting a seasonal position allows new associates to experience working at JCPenney and decide if it suits them,” and it allows employers to try out new employees.
24/7 Wall St.’s analysis found that some companies, such as Macy’s (NYSE: M)and Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS), are adding 4% to 5% more than last year’s seasonal hires because their businesses have grown. The companies’ stocks are up.
Other companies are hiring fewer workers because they are doing worse than their competition. Best Buy’s net income is flat from the previous year and its stock is down 40%. In September, the company cut its profit outlook significantly. To offset the reduction in seasonal hiring, the electronics retailer is extending the hours of its current workers.
24/7 Wall St. used data from a variety of sources, including company press releases; Challenger, Gray & Christmas; the National Retail Federation; as well as various news outlets to identify seven major American retailers that plan on hiring the most seasonal employees this year. We also looked at the companies’ revenue, total employees and the total number of stores to see how these businesses are faring and how significant the holiday hiring season is for them.
These are the retailers hiring the most people this holiday season.