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U.S. retailers are projected to hire more than 800,000 temporary employees for this year’s holiday season, the most since 1999, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
This forecast is no surprise as retailers are already planning to extend holiday shopping hours with many opening earlier than ever on Thanksgiving as a kick-off to the highly anticipated Black Friday shopping weekend.
In fact, big-name retailers like Target, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart have already announced plans to hire a combined seasonal staff of about 200,000 as they prepare for what is expected to be retail’s busiest season since 2011, according to the National Retail Federation.
In a separate survey released by the International Council of Shopping Centers, more than a third of U.S. consumers said they planned to start their holiday shopping in October, and nearly 90 percent said they will have already started by Black Friday weekend.
“Consumers seem to be interested in getting out to stores early this season,” said Jesse Tron, ICSC spokesman in a press release. “As a result, the importance of November to the overall season can’t be overlooked.”
With customers shopping early and often this season, it is vitally important retailers take advantage of the increased exposure and create memorable in-store experiences. Streamlining all operations from front-end and store layout to staff scheduling and queue management will be essential in providing the ultimate shopping experience.