Walmart Passes on Holiday Hiring, Target Boosts Minimum Wage

As the peak holiday hiring season kicks into gear, Walmart has decided to set itself apart by announcing it will once again offer extra shift hours instead of hiring thousands of seasonal staff as many other major retailers do.

Overall holiday season spending is expected to increase 4%-4.5% to $1.4 trillion-$1.5 trillion, while ecommerce sales are projected to jump 18% to 21% to as high as $114 billion, according to Deloitte.

In its distribution centers, Walmart has already been gearing up in preparation for the holiday rush so won’t do additional hiring there; the company did not disclose hiring figures for fulfillment operations. The store associates will also be involved in handling online orders and store pickups.

Kohl’s is taking the same approach, for the first time not announcing a seasonal hiring number but instead saying it has been staffing up the entire year and will lean on existing staff down the holiday stretch.

Target plans to hire an astounding 100,000 seasonal workers in its 1,816 U.S. stores, up from the 70,000 it took on last year. The company will also hire 4,500 additional distribution center employees, compared to 7,500 in 2016 when it opened three new DCs. Analysts expect Target to take a hit on the bottom line as a result of all the holiday hiring costs, as its sales growth year to date has been less than 1%.

To lure in workers in a tight labor market, Target has raised its minimum wage to $10 starting in November, then raising it to $11 thereafter, a bold move that should have other retailers following suit. The company has said its minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour by 2020.

Macy’s said it will hire 18,000 seasonal workers at its both its store replenishment and ecommerce DC, up 20% from 2016. Overall holiday hiring is down 4% for Macy’s to 80,000, due to hundreds of store closings.

While Amazon hasn’t announced its seasonal hiring plans, it held a nationwide job fair last month to fill 50,000 positions, mostly at its FCs. The ecommerce giant tends to suck the oxygen out of local job markets, offering starting rates between $11 and $14 an hour, depending on the location.

J.C. Penney says it plans to hire more than 40,000 people during the holiday season, the same number as last year.

Even Toys ‘R’ Us, despite announcing plans to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is looking to hire 10,000 seasonal workers at its stores and DCs.

On the carrier side, UPS plans to hire 95,000 seasonal workers to handle the crush from Thanksgiving through Christmas and into January for all the returns, the same as in the past three years. The company hired 55,000 extra workers in 2013, only to get swamped with orders – many from Amazon – that led to thousands of deliveries not arriving by Christmas.

Rival FedEx plans to hire 50,000-plus seasonal workers while also offering extra hours to current workers.

Ecommerce technology and third-party logistics firm Radial said it plans to hire 27,000 seasonal workers at its 25 FCs and six customer service centers, 35% more than in 2016.

“Radial has the second-largest holiday workforce and ecommerce fulfillment footprint behind Amazon, executing 10 million orders during the 2016 peak season,” said Sean McCartney, Executive Vice President of Operation Services at Radial in a release.

Radial began advertising for holiday hiring in July, about a month earlier than usual. It’s offering more flexible schedules, including shorter shifts to accommodate parents with school-aged children. It will also provide bus service for employees in some rural locations, such as central Kentucky, and in some competitive East Coast markets, according to McCartney.

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