The influx of seasonal workers at Kohl’s Corp. this holiday season will be on par with last year — and Santa’s extra elves are coming on board with a mission to make it as omni a Christmas as possible.
Kohl’s said it would hire more than 69,000 associates this holiday season “to ensure customers have a seamless omnichannel shopping experience no matter how they choose to shop.”
Seasonal workers will file in Kohl’s roughly 1,100 doors in 49 states as well as its distribution and e-commerce fulfillment and credit operations.
The company said seasonal associates in stores would stock merchandise and assist customers on the sales floor, fill buy online, pick up in store orders from kohls.com and fulfill online orders shipping directly from the stores.
Hiring began in August and the retailer said most jobs would be filed by mid-November.
Competitor Target Corp. said last week that it would hire 70,000 seasonal workers in its stores this holiday season — the same as last year — as well as 7,500 workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers for the holidays.
Target also hit hard on the online message as it laid out its plans, noting, “As online orders ramp up for the must-have products for the season, distribution and fulfillment center team members will help to replenish the stores while fulfilling the mega-high volume of online orders we’re expecting during the busiest season of the year.”
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. expects seasonal hiring to hold steady to the level seen last year, when employment in the sector increased by 738,800 for the last three months of the year. (The hiring gains in 2015 ended up being 1.4 percent lower than the year before.)
“The big change we are seeing is that while seasonal retail jobs remain flat or shrink, there has been a marked increase in seasonal job gains in other sectors,” John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “The sector with the biggest increase in holiday hiring in recent years has been transportation and warehousing, as more and more holiday shopping is done online.”
E-commerce is still a relatively small portion of overall retail sales, but it’s making up much of the overall growth in the industry.
The Census Bureau said e-commerce made up 8.1 percent, or $97.25 billion, of total retail sales in the second quarter. That marked a year-over-year increase of 15.8 percent for e-commerce, when the total market gained just 2.3 percent.
Online businesses have a very different dynamic than store businesses and cost more money as they get larger, spurring many in retail to take on the mind-set that it’s either disrupt or be disrupted.