As the holiday season approaches, retailers are preparing for the busiest shopping time of the year by increasing their workforces. Five of the nation’s largest retailers will add nearly 300,000 jobs combined this winter. Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) said it plans to add 83,000 temporary jobs — the most of any retailer. Additionally, among e-commerce firms, the largest, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will add 70,000 workers.
While 2013 holiday spending is expected to rise compared to 2012, retailers are not expected to hire more than they did last year. In fact, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas expects retailers might not even match 2012 seasonal hiring totals. To determine the companies adding the most workers this holiday season, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed seasonal hiring announcements from America’s largest retailers.
While overall holiday hiring is expected to be flat at best, some individual retailers are expected to increase hiring, while others plan on scaling back. Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) will offer 18,000 fewer seasonal jobs than last year. Both Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Macy’s will hire more this season than they did last year. According to Challenger Gray CEO John Challenger, “seasonal hiring depends on current staffing levels.” He explained that some companies have hired more throughout the year, reducing their need to hire for the holidays.
Many top retailers have been adversely affected by the growth of e-retail, especially Amazon.com. According to a recent report by Deloitte, brick-and-mortar holiday sales will rise an estimated 4.0% to 4.5% this year, while non-store sales will rise 12.5% to 13.0%, largely led by online shopping.
While Amazon continues to scale up its own holiday hiring , adding 70,000 jobs this season, many retailers, including Walmart, have sought to push back by offering their own e-commerce sites and using their stores as distribution hubs for online orders. Challenger told 24/7 Wall St. that “every year e-retail gets stronger,” with growth in both online sales as well as “clicks and bricks” — the use of mobile technology while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.
In addition to the growth of e-commerce, many retailers have had to contend with declining consumer confidence. Weak consumer confidence in the economy has been a drag on seasonal hiring. Challenger noted that consumer confidence is a crucial factor in companies’ sales forecasts and in determining the products they carry, as well as what markets they operate in and how much they hire.
Retailers also are constrained by the incomes of their consumers. Recently released Census Bureau figures showed no improvement in U.S. household income between 2011 and 2012. Many consumers also have had to tighten their belts after the federal government failed to renew the nation’s payroll tax holiday. Target’s CEO specifically cited the lack of income growth and high payroll taxes as contributing to the company’s lackluster performance.
To identify the retailers hiring the most for the holidays, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Kantar Retail’s list of the 100 largest retail companies based on 2012 retail sales. To make our list, the company needed to be one of the nation’s 30 largest retailers and to have announced hiring plans for the holiday season. They also needed to be a general retailer, which means they have physical stores and sell a wide variety of products and brands. For this reason, we excluded companies like Amazon.com and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). Employment estimates are from company annual reports.
These are the retailers hiring the most people for the holidays.