By Uday Sampath Kumar
(Reuters) – Target Inc said on Thursday it plans to hire up to 100,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season and start offering festive deals earlier than in previous years as it prepares for a critical shopping period amid a slowing economy.
The big retailer had hired 100,000 workers for last year’s holiday season, which was marked by a tight supply of labour. It employed about 130,000 seasonal workers in 2019 and 2020.
Retailers, dealing with billions of dollars in unsold stock, took a more cautious view of this year’s holiday season as consumers facing high inflation cut decades of discretionary spending.
This has led analysts and companies to anticipate another early start to the holiday season as consumers will likely feel the urgency to find discounts.
targeting (NYSE:) said it will run its first batch of holiday savings deals this year from October 6 to October 8. In 2021, festive deals begin on October 10th.
The retailer’s hiring plans are outpacing those of rival Walmart (NYSE: Inc), which is looking to add 40,000 workers in seasonal and full-time roles after it already hired 150,000 for the previous holiday season in mostly full-time jobs.
Jane Haley, CEO of investment research firm Jane Haley & Associates, said the difference in employment expectations among retailers was due to Walmart to offset last year’s over-staffing, which led to over-staffing issues that slashed its earnings in the first quarter.
Another major retail player, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) declined to comment on its seasonal hiring plans. In recent years, the company has typically announced seasonal appointments in October.
Holiday retail sales are expected to rise 4% to 6% year-over-year from November to January, compared to a 15.1% increase in the same period last year, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast released on September 13.
Target and Walmart have already made big profits this year as they have been forced to increase discounts to remove excess inventory.
Shares of Target fell more than 3 percent on Thursday.