Whether you’re a retailer, gift-giver, or just looking to pick up a little extra scratch for the holiday season, this year is going to look a lot different from the usual holiday shopping season. Thanks to the cost of necessities like groceries going up and hiked interest rates, many holiday gift-givers are finding creative ways to cut down on gift spending in 2022.
Major retailers are reacting to a slower forecast for the busy holiday season in a few different ways. Shopping for deals, for example, has become a much more confusing experience. Early Black Friday deals, sometimes meant to help major retailers clear out excess inventory, have made it really confusing for consumers looking to get the best deals. Should you buy extra early, or should you wait until the annual shopping bonanza we’ve come to expect the day after Thanksgiving?
The prospect of shoppers all planning to travel less and purchase less expensive items for fewer people for the upcoming holiday season might be a chilling prospect for some companies. Each major retail store is preparing in their own way. The changes we’ll be seeing as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing have already begun, and companies are changing holiday hiring practices to adjust.
Walmart, Target Take Different Hiring Approaches
As October comes and goes, it’s time for the annual wave of holiday new hires to help accommodate larger crowds of shoppers. And it looks like most companies are doing significantly less hiring than in 2021. Macy’s (M) – Get Free Report and J.C. Penny are looking to hire less staff during the holiday and retain more quality staff. Meanwhile, Kohl’s (KSS) – Get Free Report is staying tight-lipped about its seasonal hiring numbers, which is an unusual move for the retail chain.
Walmart cut its seasonal hiring from 150,000 new employees in 2021 to 40,000 this year. Last year’s push to fill positions brought on more full-time workers to Walmart, but this year’s hiring push will be mainly focused on seasonal labor. Holiday hiring isn’t the only cut Walmart made this year–the company laid off about 200 employees from its corporate offices in August.
Walmart has also been one of many stores slashing prices on overstocked items after supply chain issues shook up production for many items. But while the everything-in-one-place mart is padding some losses with a more controlled hiring season, another household name company is going hard for the holidays.
Target is set to hire something like 100,000 seasonal employees this year. Sure, Targé faced inventory issues similar to other major stores dig into its bottom line this year. But the company is banking on a heavy-traffic holiday season thanks to its exclusive partnerships (like it’s gig with Apple) and limited-edition brand collaborations.
Covid Considerations Impact Holiday Hiring
Of course, several companies may be scaling back from last year’s hiring numbers due to other factors. Walmart, for instance, brought on more holiday staff in 2021 to help accommodate a spike in Covid-19 cases, which limited the availability of its existing workers.
This year, while purse strings msy tighten during the holiday season, several companies are favoring giving current employees additional hours rather than hiring and training new staff. The technique could be an opportunity for current employees to help make their own ends meet during the winter holidays–even if it does run the risk of spreading staff a little thin.
Holiday hiring plans, of course, always adjust based on demand. While many forecasts show that holiday spending will slow down, history has shown that it almost never does. Over the last few decades (since 2002, holiday retail sales only fell year-over-year once in 2008 — during the height of the mortgage crisis.
That means that while companies are being conservative, their plans could change if consumers can’t resist the urge to break their holiday budgets.