Customers walk with their purchases from a Target store, in Methuen, Mass. Target Corp. reports earnings, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017Earns Target, Methuen, USA - 27 Jun 2016

It’s going to be a difficult holiday season for retailers. Amazon, which crushed Christmas for the online sector, and cut into bricks-and-mortar sales, is expected to be as aggressive as ever. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,which has been trying to answer Amazon’s incursions, is emphasizing the synergies between e-commerce and its vast fleet of stores, and will boost its promotional activity.

So where does that leave the smaller Target Corp.? The Minneapolis-based mass merchant believes it will distinguish itself  through service, and on Wednesday said revealed plans to hire about 100,000 employees across the U.S. for the holiday season.

Target’s net income in the recent second quarter slipped 1.2 percent to $672 million from $680 million a year earlier. Share buybacks boosted earnings per share to $1.22, from $1.07, beating analyst estimates of $1.19. The increase was driven by traffic growth of 2.1 percent.

Sales in the quarter ended July 29 rose 1.6 percent to $16.4 billion from $16.2 billion on a 1.3 percent comparable-store sales gain. In the digital channel, comps rose 32 percent on top of 16 percent growth in the second quarter of 2016, outpacing the industry, and Target plans to invent more in 2018.

 But Target is facing a tougher prior-year comparison in third-quarter and comps are expected to be flat, with full-year comps projected to range from flat to down 1 percent.
Wednesday’s announcement is part of Target’s efforts to provide an exceptional shopping experience and ensure that its 1,816 stores will be staffed to deliver a seamless experience for consumers.

Target will hire an additional 4,500 team members at the company’s distribution and fulfillment centers to replenish products to stores and fulfill digital sales throughout the season.

In stores, seasonal employees will make sure shelves are well stocked and answer questions about Target’s new exclusive brands. As the retailer continues to grow its order pick-up service and ship-from-store capabilities, team members will fulfill online orders at stores.

“Target has made significant investments in our business throughout 2017, and our commitment to hire 100,000 team members for the holidays will make shopping at Target even easier and more fun during one of the busiest times of the year,” said Janna Potts, chief stores office of Target. “[They] play such an important role in helping guests prepare to celebrate the holidays with their families. As always, we’ll provide our seasonal team members with meaningful opportunities to build and develop skills, and offer great benefits, including a variety of schedules and discounts.”

Target will host hiring events at its 1,816 stores, Oct. 13 through Oct. 15., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. eligible applicants could potentially interview on-the-spot and receive a conditional job offer. There’s also to apply for seasonal jobs online, starting today.