The strength of retail sales in the fourth quarter of each year is a benchmark for how well the U.S. consumer economy is doing. This is especially important with the consumer economy making up over half of gross domestic product. Jobs added by retailers during this time can act as a barometer for how this particular part of the economy is doing. Black Friday was the biggest it’s ever been, and this holiday shopping season seems to be shaping up nicely. That one major retailer announced plans to hire more workers just seems to be a drop in the bucket.
Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) announced Friday that it only plans to hire an additional 7,000 seasonal associates — to its already planned 80,000 hires — for positions at its Macy’s stores nationwide for the 2017 Christmas and holiday season.
While adding these workers is a definite positive for Macy’s, and signals better-than-expected holiday traffic to investors, 7,000 is still not that much compared to the heavy hitters in retail.
While Chief Stores Officer John Harper appeared fairly confident in this number, other retailers are looking to add way more this season. Harper had this to say:
Macy’s has had a great start to this holiday season with high customer volume across our business. Due to the strong traffic in our stores, we are adding associates in our stores across the country to ensure that customers continue to receive the high level of service they have come to expect from us. We are excited to be further expanding our seasonal workforce. Seasonal workers play an important role in the Macy’s holiday shopping experience and, in addition to a competitive hourly income, they will experience a flexible working environment and benefit from a merchandise discount.
Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) announced in September that it plans to hire 100,000 employees for the holiday season, which is up from last year’s 70,000, an increase of over 42%.
E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced in October that it would hire about 120,000 people for the holiday shopping season to work at its customer service sites and fulfillment centers. Amazon hired 120,000 seasonal workers last year as well.
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is hiring 40,000 seasonal employees this year, the same total as last year.
Shares of Macy’s were last seen up about 1.5% at $24.15 on Friday, with a consensus analyst price target of $23.18 and a 52-week range of $17.41 to $43.79.