Macy's to hire 80,000 for holiday rush, boost online staffing

(Reuters) - Macy’s Inc said on Wednesday it would hire 80,000 temporary workers for the holiday season, in line with last year’s initial hiring, and deploy more hands to cater to the avalanche of online orders expected in the shopping period.

People observe from inside a Macy's department store in downtown Washington, U.S., August 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

The department store chain said 23,500 seasonal workers would be employed at its online fulfillment centers across the United States, 5,500 more than last year.

The rest of the hires would be based in call centers, shop floors at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and will support the company’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Seasonal hiring plans of retailers indicate their sales expectations for the holiday season, which starts a day after Thanksgiving and continues into early January, and accounts for nearly a third of their annual sales.

The company, like its department store peers, has been investing heavily to beef up its online presence and lure back shoppers who had shifted to rivals such as e-commerce giant Inc.

Macy’s online business clocked double-digit growth in the second quarter, with sales through its mobile app rising more than 50 percent in the first half of its fiscal year from a year earlier.

Last September, Macy’s said it would hire 80,000 temporary workers, but added 7,000 in December following strong Black Friday sales.

“There’s a lot of optimism among retailers for the holidays, but a lot of them are waiting for after Thanksgiving to assess exactly what they need in terms of temporary hires,” Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData Retail said.

Peer Kohl’s Corp said in June it would begin hiring seasonal workers for the back-to-school, fall and holiday seasons “earlier than ever.”

Macy’s shares, which have risen about 44 percent this year, were up 0.5 percent at $36.54 in early trading.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Sriraj Kalluvila and Sweta Singh