Holiday Hiring Expected To Be Flat Compared With Last Year

Holiday shoppers 2014
Holiday shoppers inside Macy's in New York.
Getty Images.

Christmas is coming, and retailers are expected to have strong sales this season, though many are remaining cautious when it comes to hiring.  Despite the National Retail Federation’s prediction that stores will top $630.7 billion in sales in the last three months of the year, seasonal job opportunities have been forecast to be relatively flat for the holidays.

Shops are expected to hire an additional 700,000 to 750,000 seasonal associates for 2015. Compared with last year, when retailers hired around 714,000 people, it’s a bit disappointing for some that stronger sales aren’t necessarily translating into more jobs.

Stagnant wage growth, global market instability and trouble with consistent traffic in stores have put a little bit of a damper on holiday hiring expectations and could affect general holiday performance.

The big change is in the allocation of holiday manpower — this year, more will be deployed for online support. With a 6 percent to 8 percent rise in online sales expected this year, retailers are spending more at distribution centers to meet growing e-commerce demand.

Here are the key hiring plans of shoe-selling retailers:

Nordstrom Inc. said it will hire an additional 11,800 associates at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and to help with online order fulfillment at its e-commerce businesses Haute Look and Trunk Club. The bulk of the hiring — around 10,000 positions — will be for associate and stock roles at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. Around 1,6000 employees will be hired for distribution centers, and 100 workers will help support inventory, stock and customer experience at Trunk Club.

Macy’s Inc. committed to hiring 85,000 seasonal employees this year for its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores. The company said its hiring plan this year is flat compared with last year. Of the hires, 12,000 are for the company’s fulfillment and distribution centers, up from 10,000 last year.

Sports Authority is hiring 3,500 season employees for its 467 stores, the same number of workers the store hired last year.

Kohl’s will hire 69,000 associates this year, up from last year’s 67,000. Of those hires, 9,500 will be for distribution and e-commerce fulfillment. Last year, the firm took on 9,300 for e-commerce support. Around 50 new associates will support the company’s buy-online and pick-up-in-store initiatives.