UPDATE: Retailers have robust seasonal hiring plans for the holidays despite store closures
By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
The early signals are a positive sign, data shows
Early seasonal hiring announcements indicate that the retail sector's holiday job market will be stronger than last year, according to Challenger Gray & Christmas, specialists in outplacement and career transitions.
Target Corp. (TGT) has announced plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/target-to-hire-100000-seasonal-workers-for-the-holidays-2017-09-13), up from 70,000 last year, along with 4,500 workers for distribution and fulfillment centers. Michaels Companies Inc. (MIK) has announced plans to bring 15,000 workers on board for the season. Radial, a retail technology and operations company, says it will hire 27,000 seasonal workers, to help with fulfillment and customer care. That's a year-over-year increase of 35%, according to the company. And 1-800-Flowers.Com Inc. (FLWS) says it will hire 8,000 workers for its portfolio of brands, including Harry & David and Cheryl's Cookies.
Macy's Inc. (M) says it will hire 80,000 seasonal workers, which is down from 83,000 last year. However, 18,000 seasonal hires (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macys-to-hire-80000-seasonal-workers-for-the-holidays-down-from-83000-last-year-2017-09-18) will be for direct-to-consumer fulfillment facilities, up 3,000 from last year.
For the last three months of 2016, seasonal retail employment rose by 641,000, according to numbers furnished by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's the lowest number since 2009, when hires totaled 495,800. In 2015, 708,800 jobs were added in retail.
Read also:Looking for work? U.S. job openings hit another record (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/job-openings-climb-to-record-616-million-in-june-2017-08-08)
See:Wal-Mart, TJX, and McDonald's are in demand as low-income consumers struggle (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wal-mart-tjx-and-mcdonalds-stock-favored-as-low-income-consumer-suffers-2017-09-05)
"As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers," said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online."
Gap Inc. (GPS) has announced that it has started the seasonal hiring process, though it didn't specify the number of workers it will hire. Retailers like Kohl's Corp. (KSS) and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) also tend to hire thousands of seasonal workers for the holidays.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas also notes the previously announced expanded hiring announced by companies like Home Depot Inc. (HD) , Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Dollar General Corp. (DG) that go beyond the holidays.
Read:Retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy are coming up with new strategies to top two-day delivery (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/retailers-like-wal-mart-and-best-buy-are-coming-up-with-new-strategies-to-top-two-day-delivery-2017-08-31)
See also: Wal-Mart will offer current workers additional hours rather than hire seasonal workers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wal-mart-will-offer-current-workers-additional-hours-rather-than-hire-seasonal-workers-2017-09-20)
But retailers have also announced store closures, more than 6,000 by Challenger, Gray & Christmas' count. Companies also announced 67,000 job cuts in the first eight months of the year.
"However, despite these numbers, retailers projected the highest number of hiring announcements for any industry with over 248,000," according to the firm.
The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) is down 8.2% for the year so far while he the S&P 500 index is up 11.8% for the period.
-Tonya Garcia; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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