Coming off a slower-than-expected back-to-school season, analysts and stores are bracing for a tough holiday shopping period, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of stores' annual revenue. Analysts study the holiday hiring figures from retailers for clues about overall employment trends and sales expectations for the holiday season. Stores typically begin to hire for the holidays in mid-September and ramp up hiring in mid-October.
At Toys R Us, hiring begins this week and runs through December. About 15 percent of the jobs in 2012 lead to full-time employment.
Overall holiday hiring is expected to be relatively flat because of cautious consumer spending and uncertainty about the economic environment. Employer consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimates that overall seasonal hiring will not change significantly from last year's total, when hiring rose 14 percent to 751,800 positions between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
Wal-Mart Stores said Monday it is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers and is elevating 35,000 temporary workers to part-time status and 35,000 part-time workers to full-time jobs.
Target Corp. said last week it plans to hire 70,000 workers, a 20 percent drop from a year ago, as it tries to be more efficient in its hiring practices. And department-store operator Kohl's Corp. said last week that it plans to hire about 53,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season, slightly more than last year.