Retailer Macy’s is to hire 78,000 holiday workers, 4% more than the 2010 holiday season, encouraged by rising sales figures. The company forecasts a year-on-year increase of between 4% and 4.5% in same-store sales for the last two fiscal quarters this year, partly boosted by sales around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Workers will be based at department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and also support the retailer’s online business at its warehouses and call centers. Though this staffing measure is primarily a seasonal measure, the company says certain positions may well lead on to permanent positions. Macy’s is a big employer, with 170,000 workers, mostly employed on a full-time basis.
Possible Full-Time Employment
With US unemployment hovering over 9%, job seekers may be tempted to go for seasonal jobs in the hopes of finding full-time employment down the line. There are around 14 million unemployed in the US. Almost 43% of those currently unemployed in the US have been jobless for over six months.
Seasonal staff numbers at Macy’s main competitors, Kohl’s and JC Penney, are unlikely to see an increase on last year. Toys ‘R’ Us is set to take on 40,000 seasonal workers.
Chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy's Terry J. Lundgren explained the retailer’s trend of strong seasonal hiring in a press release: “We always hire aggressively during the holidays to ensure our customers are well-served in this important shopping period. We expect additional hiring this year given the continued sales growth in our business both in-store and online.”
Lundgren explained holiday workers fulfill a variety of roles right across the retail spectrum: “Our seasonal associates serve customers on the selling floor, work behind the scenes in store operations positions, interact with customers via the telephone in call centers, and staff the distribution and fulfillment centers that coordinate shipments to our stores and directly to customers who buy online.”
Macy’s is a leader on the US retail market with 850 stores across 45 states. In 2010, the company reported fiscal sales of $25 billion. Macy’s portfolio also includes four Bloomingdales stores.
Holiday Hiring: No Year-On-Year Change For 70% of Retailers
Forecast holiday hiring across the wider retail market shows little signs of US economic woes letting up. Almost 70% of retailers intend to keep seasonal staff numbers largely unchanged compared with 2010, while 25% plan on cutting back on seasonal staff this year, according to a survey by management consultants Hay Group.
This means an 8% jump in employers cutting back on holiday hiring relative to last year.
Key Statistics – US Retail Sales August 2011 (source: US Department of Commerce)
- August retail sales lower than private sector estimated rise of 0.2%.
- Automobile sales down 0.3% in August, sales not including motor vehicles up 0.1%.
- Retail sales see 7% year-on-year increase.