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(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to hire more than 50,000 seasonal employees to work at its Walmart stores in the United States, slightly more than it did last year, as it gets ready for the winter holiday season, its busiest time of year.
The world's largest retailer also said on Friday that it would give current workers the chance to work more hours during the season. Some Walmart workers have said that they are not given the opportunity to work as many hours as they would like.
"We know many customers are continuing to struggle as a result of the economy and high unemployment levels, but they have shown us that they're resilient. They're committed to giving their families a memorable Christmas," Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer Gisel Ruiz said in a statement.
Walmart did not say how many seasonal workers it hired for the 2011 holiday season, but the plan to hire more than 50,000 is up slightly from last year. The company is trying to improve the level of service at its thousands of stores, where shoppers often complain that they have to wait in long lines to pay.
Retailers typically add seasonal staff in the weeks leading up to the holiday shopping season in order to work in stores and to help in other areas, such as distribution and fulfilling online orders.
Earlier this week, department store chain Kohl's Corp said it planned to increase its holiday season hiring by more than 10 percent. Kohl's said on Tuesday that it plans to hire more than 52,700 people for the holiday season to work in stores and support its online business.
Target Corp, meanwhile, said it plans to hire about 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal employees for its stores and distribution centers. While Target plans to hire fewer than the 92,000 seasonal staff it brought on in 2011, it said that 30 percent of those who were hired to work during last year's holiday season were then given year-round positions.
Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Matthew Lewis