Retailers are poised to add around 755,000 temporary workers this holiday season, in line with last year’s job additions, according to staffing experts Challenger Gray & Christmas. The only company that is adding significantly more workers than last year is Amazon.com. Traditional retailers, which are posting very modest sales this year, will in most cases report similarly modest holiday hiring.
According to the Challenger Gray & Christmas 2015 Holiday Retail Hiring Outlook, which forecasts total holiday season employment gains, job additions totaled 786,800 in 2013. This is considerably lower than the current outlook, an indication of how skittish retailers may be again this year. They may have reason to be. The National Retail Federation (NRF), based on a survey of consumers, expects average spending per person this holiday season to be $805.65, not that different from the $802.45 average spending in 2014. The same study shows that 46% of consumers will do their shopping online, which should favor Amazon.com.
Retailers need to be fully staffed partly because many are opening their stores earlier on Thanksgiving — each year earlier than the previous one it seems — and for longer. As an effort to gain desperately needed market share and induce sales, retailers — including Target, Macy’s, Sears, and Toys ‘R’ Us — will open earlier than they do normally.
As is the case for many retailers, sales peak during the holiday season and represent a bulk of annual sales for these retailers. In 2014, for example, 37% of Gamestop’s annual sales occurred during the last quarter of the year. Similarly, Kohl’s reports around 30% of its sales occur during the months of November and December each year.
To give some sense of the pressure many traditional retailers are facing this holiday season, shares of three of the 10 companies on this list — Macy’s, Walmart, and Kohl’s — are currently trading at near 52-week lows. Shares of Amazon.com, on the other hand, trade near an all-time high. Amazon.com’s market cap of $307 billion is more than Walmart’s and Target’s combined.
Modest holiday hiring could be expected based on the financial results of mainstream retailers. In its most recently reported quarter, Walmart, America’s largest retailer, reported U.S. revenue of $74 billion, up 4.8% from the previous quarter. Same-store sales dropped 1.1%. Target’s revenue in the last quarter rose only 2.8%, to $17.4 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 2.4%. Amazon’s results are not even in the same league. In its most recently reported quarter, revenue rose 23% to $25.4 billion. North American sales rose 28.2% to $15 billion.
However, some large retailers have badly missed forecasts. These include Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Gap. Some may question whether holiday job additions are a good investment for these companies.
To establish which retailers will add the most jobs for the 2015 holiday, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the announced holiday hires from top retailers based on revenue in the Retail 100. Because their businesses are so closely related to retail, we also examined seasonal job additions at Fedex and UPS. Financial data was obtained from financial documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when available.
These are the retailers adding the most jobs for the holidays.