Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Friday (Sept. 21) the retailer will offer existing associates more hours of work and hire more than 50,000 seasonal employees ahead of the holidays.
"The holidays are a special time of the year for everyone, and we are ready to help customers have a great shopping experience at Walmart — whether they are looking for the perfect gift or are stocking up for a memorable holiday meal.That means when a customer needs help, a Walmart associate will be there to serve them," said Gisel Ruiz, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Walmart U.S.
She says Wal-Mart knows many customers are continuing to struggle as a result of the economy and high unemployment levels, but they have shown that they're resilient and the company believes holiday sales will be strong as their customers are committed to giving their families a memorable Christmas.
"This is our busiest time of the year and we are focused even more on providing excellent service to our shoppers throughout the holiday season. One way we do that is by ensuring our stores are adequately staffed by our associates," Ruiz said.
Earlier this week, department store chain Kohl's Corp said it planned to increase its holiday season hiring by more than 10%. Kohl's said it plans to hire more than 52,700 people for the holiday season to work in stores and support its online business.
Economists say the jury is still out on how lucrative the holiday season will be for retailers. Early indicators such as back-to-school sales were strong. But consumer confidence has been fickle. One positive aspect for retailers, according to Wells Fargo Chief Economist John Silvia, is that inventories are in the best shape possible in many categories.
"Retailers rode a steady wave of consumer spending this summer, but shopper enthusiasm could start to wane in the coming months especially as prices at the pump increase," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail & distribution sector leader. "To get consumers' attention now and hold their interest and loyalty through the upcoming holiday season, retailers should highlight their blend of physical and virtual shopping experiences. By providing interactive, digital signage inside stores, mobile applications, and mobile point-of-sale functionality, retailers can make a strong impression on shoppers and encourage them to return whenever, wherever and however they wish."