Macy’s Inc. will increase by 20 % the number of workers it hires during the holiday shopping season to staff distribution and warehouses that support its online business, but total holiday hiring will fall.
The department store operator said on Thursday it would hire 18000 holiday workers to fulfil online orders, including shipping and packaging, an increase of about 3000 from last year. But total hiring for the holiday season will fall to 80000 from 8,000 last year, the company said, with Macy’s operating 70 fewer stores than it did last year.
Rival Target Corp (TGT.N) said it would hire 43 % more seasonal workers, or a total of 100000, for the holiday season rush.
It was the first time in five years that Target increased the number of holiday workers it would hire, after the retailer reported a rise in comparable-store sales for the first time in more than a year.
Seasonal hiring plans typically point to retailers’ sales expectations for the holiday season, which starts a day after Thanksgiving and continues into early January and accounts for nearly a third of annual sales.
Radial, which provides staffing and ecommerce services for retailers including Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N) and Toys R Us, said it will hire 35 % more workers this holiday season to fill positions at distribution centres as well as for ancillary services such as order-online-pick-up-in-store and doorstep delivery.
Macy‘s, like other department store operators, has been grappling with weak sales for years, as shoppers spend less on apparel and more on experiences, and as competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) intensifies.
To counteract these pressures, large chains are heavily investing in their online businesses, including building distribution centres and logistic fleets while shutting stores and cutting jobs.
More and more retailers are now relying on temporary workers to fill positions, Moody’s analyst Charles O‘Shea told Reuters.
Macy’s has lowered the headcount of its permanent employees by nearly 16 % over the last five years, filings show, and plans to shut 100 stores by the end of this year.
Macy’s last month repeated its outlook for a decline in sales for the fiscal year ending in January of between 3.2 % and 4.3 % and a decline in comparable-store sales of 2 % to 3 %.