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Holiday retail forecast: More sales, more hiring, more online

Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

"Sentiment and spending indicators are firing on all cylinders, but the question is: How will retailers respond, given the profound disruption across the industry?" said Rod Sides, vice chairman at Deloitte. "The good news is retail is thriving."

Eight in 10 Americans now shop online, according to Pew Research, a Washington think tank.

JCPenney said it is hiring 40,000 people nationally in about 875 stores. As an added benefit, JCPenney said it will give its workers a 25 percent discount on merchandise and flexible schedules. Candidates can apply online at jcpcareers.com or at store kiosks.

In addition, Target has announced it is hiring 100,000 seasonal positions for the holidays, up from the 70,000 in-store workers and 7,500 fulfillment and warehouse workers announced last year. Target also indicated it was lowering prices in all stores, a response to Amazon and Walmart's price-slashing.

Michaels has announced 15,000 holiday jobs, and 1-800-Flowers an additional 8,000 workers.

Macy's announced it would hire about 80,000 seasonal workers for positions in its stores, call centers, distribution centers and warehouses. Of those jobs, the company said about 18,000 -- 3,000 more than the year before -- would be in positions related to online and other direct-to-shopper areas.

"As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers," Challenger said. "While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online."

By the numbers

The overall number of seasonal jobs for the winter holidays has been in slight decline since 2013 and appears to be shifting -- as department stores close and online shopping increases -- from store jobs to call center, warehouse and logistics and distribution positions.

Here's a breakdown of some of the seasonal positions in 2015 by some of the biggest players:

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