Retailers Hiring the Most Employees for the Holidays

1. J.C. Penney
> 2013 seasonal hires: 35,000
> Change from 2012: N/A
> Employees: 116,000
> Stores: 1,097

This year, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is expected to hire an estimated 35,000 workers this holiday season. While J.C. Penney did not disclose these figures last year, the beleaguered retailer has faced considerable pressures from investors to disclose good news this year. The company’s decision to phase out coupons in favor of “everyday low prices,” alienated customers. The decision was since reversed and the company fired its highly compensated chief executive officer, Ron Johnson, and replaced him with his predecessor. However, the change back has not been enough to return J.C. Penney to profitability, and the company has been widely rumored to be struggling to manage its cash.

2. Kohl’s
> 2013 seasonal hires: 53,070
> Change from 2012: +354
> Employees: 135,000
> Stores: 1,146

Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) said it plans to add more than 53,000 workers this year for the holiday season. This includes an estimated 6,400 associates hired for its distribution and call centers. This is up only slightly from last year, when the company hired just over 52,700 store associates. The company is not just planning on using seasonal hires to scale up for the holiday season, but it also will remodel 30 stores this fall as part of its holiday preparations. Kohl’s most recent financial results were mixed. While the company’s profit declined and it pared back expectations for the rest of the year, its same-store-sales rose slightly.

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3. Walmart
> 2013 seasonal hires: 55,000
> Change from 2012: +5,000
> Employees: 1.3 million (U.S.)
> Stores: 4,570

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) recently announced it was hiring 55,000 workers for the holidays, up about 10% from the year before. Additionally, the world’s largest retailer has been courting holiday shoppers by offering its layaway service for free this year. Walmart is expected to expand its shipping directly from local stores to customers who place orders at, as part of its platform to fight off increased competition from online retailers, most notably Recently, the company has faced staffing issues, often lacking enough employees to properly stock shelves at some of its stores. At the same time, employees have protested for better pay and working conditions nationwide.

4. Target
> 2013 seasonal hires: 70,000
> Change from 2012: -18,000
> Employees: 361,000
> Stores: 1,778

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is adding 70,000 seasonal jobs this year, a massive number by almost any measure. But the number actually is low, compared to 2012, when the company hired 88,000 workers. Target is hiring fewer workers partly because many current employees wanted more holiday hours. Also, higher payroll taxes have tightened shoppers’ budgets. In a recent earnings call, CEO Gregg Steinhafel cited both limited income growth and payroll taxes as contributing to weak results.

5. Macy’s
> 2013 seasonal hires: 83,000
> Change from 2012: +3,000
> Employees: 175,700
> 2012 Stores: 841

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is an iconic part of the winter holidays. But Macy’s is not just flying balloons to kick off the holiday season, it also is hiring many workers for that busy time of year. Between its call centers, stores and distribution network, Macy’s is slated to hire 83,000 seasonal workers in 2013, up from the roughly 80,000 seasonal associates it hired in 2012. With industry observers expecting retailers to hire less this year than last year’s 12-year high, Macy’s hiring increase somewhat bucks the trend. However, the company’s most recent results and store traffic figures disappointed Wall Street. Macy’s noted that consumers were cautious about non-essential purchases.

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