Terry Lundgren is calling in some additional helpers for Santa at Macy’s Inc.
The corporate parent to Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s plans to hire 85,000 seasonal associates to support its Web and retail operations this year, about on par with hiring a year ago.
That jibes with the general thrust in the industry, where seasonal hiring is expected to be flat with last year, having come down from a peak in 2013. Retailers find themselves competing to hire the best associates and are also to pay more to keep them.
“We first offer our current associates the opportunity to work extra hours over the holidays, then supplement our ongoing workforce with seasonal hires,” said Lundgren, Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This enhanced staffing allows us to provide additional help to customers, whether they are shopping in stores or online.”
Macy’s has about 166,900 associates on its payroll year-round, with 885 stores and sales last year of about $28 billion, although it laid out plans this month to shutter 35 to 40 doors.
About 12,000 of the seasonal jobs this year will be based at the company’s direct-to-consumer fulfillment centers, in keeping with the company’s push to meet the customer online and in-store with an omnichannel positioning. Another 1,600 workers will be hired to connect with customers via telephone, e-mail and online chat, and more than 1,000 people will be brought on board to support the Thanksgiving Day Parade and other events.
Most seasonal positions are part-time.
“Especially at the holidays, we employ students working during break to help pay tuition, retirees seeking to remain active and individuals from many walks of life wanting to supplement their income,” Lundgren said.
As it looks to pump up its digital business and build omnichannel infrastructure, Macy’s is coming under pressure from Jeffrey Smith of Starboard Value. The activist investor has taken a stake in the retailer and advocated for moves that would unlock value in its real estate holdings.