Retailers Hiring the Most Employees for the Holidays

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7. GameStop
> 2014 seasonal hires: 25,000
> Change from 2013: +8,000
> Total employees: 17,000
> U.S. stores: 4,467

Video game retailer GameStop announced plans to hire 25,000 seasonal workers, up from 17,000 the year before. The company anticipates that new games for next-generation video game consoles — Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Wii U — will help drive demand. GameStop also stated that its “consumer electronics re-commerce business is expected to be in demand as customers look to trade-in their pre-owned devices in order to trade up to the new Apple iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.” The holiday season is critical for GameStop. Its fourth quarter, which coincides with the holidays, accounted for more than 40% of sales and for nearly two-thirds of its operating profit excluding non-recurring items in the last two years.

6. J.C. Penney
> 2014 seasonal hires: 35,000
> Change from 2013: 0
> Total employees: 117,000
> U.S. stores: 1,094

The second quarter provided further fuel for J.C. Penney’s recovery, as sales rose 5.1% from the same period the year before and comparable store sales increased by 6%. The company also significantly pared back its losses by improving its cost structure. Still, J.C. Penney’s cash balances continue to dwindle, and many on Wall Street — including Credit Suisse and Standard & Poor’s — have reported that the company’s future remains in flux. The holidays will likely be a critical moment for the retailer’s turnaround plans. J.C. Penney has announced plans to hire roughly 35,000 seasonal employees for the holidays, in line with the number hired last year.

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5.Toys R’ Us
> 2014 seasonal hires: 45,000
> Change from 2013: 0
> Total employees: 67,000
> U.S. stores: 873

Perhaps even more than other retailers, Toys R’ Us relies heavily on the gift-giving season. The company’s unprecedented and controversial Black Friday sale — which started at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving last year, three hours earlier than any other retailer — is a testament to its commitment to the holiday season. This September, Toys R’ Us announced it will again hire an additional 45,000 employees nationwide to accommodate holiday shopping. The surge will more than double the company’s U.S. workforce and offer seasonal workers opportunities for non-seasonal employment, according to Toys R’ Us.

4. Wal-Mart Stores
> 2014 seasonal hires: 60,000
> Change from 2013: +5,000
> Total employees: 2.2 million
> U.S. stores: 4,835

Walmart plans to swell its ranks by 60,000 this holiday season, a nearly 10% increase from last year’s seasonal hiring. The retailer has also ensured current employees will have priority over seasonal workers for extra hours. Sending the message that the company takes care of its employees is timely as Walmart’s labor practices have been frequently criticized in recent years. Walmart had to deal with worker strikes and, in January, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against Walmart accusing the company of unlawfully having “threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.” Walmart employed 1.4 million Americans, and operated 4,835 stores in the U.S., at the end of its last fiscal year.