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Retailers forecast strong holiday, show hiring restraint

BY HBSDEALER Staff

According to a survey released Tuesday by global management consultancy Hay Group, 68% of retailers expect holiday sales to increase this year. However, hiring plans remain conservative, with 67% of retailers hiring at the same level as last year and 25% hiring fewer seasonal workers.

“Retailers have a tempered optimism about the holidays this year. Cost inflation has made profitability more elusive, and retailers are trimming the fat with staffing and store hours,” said Craig Rowley, VP and global practice leader for Hay Group’s retail practice.

The double-digit growth in e-commerce sales this year is also influencing hiring levels. Nineteen percent of retailers said they will hire fewer seasonal staffers in stores this year due to the increase in their online sales. This decline may be offset by the 19% that said they will hire more seasonal workers in distribution centers to support the uptick in online orders.

Hay Group’s survey, in its fifth year, analyzed responses from 21 major U.S. retailers.

Other report highlights included an uptick in permanent workers, as 19% said they are hiring fewer seasonal and more permanent workers this season. Pay rates for seasonal workers are largely even with 2010, but 19% plan a modest uptick of 5 cents to 30 cents. Still, 48% note that they pay seasonal workers less than permanent workers in the same position, compared with 25% last year.

Discounting may not be as rampant in holiday 2011. An overwhelming majority said they are not planning to offer deeper discounts on Black Friday (89%) or Cyber Monday (94%) this year. The timing for discounting also continues to be spread throughout the season. While 78% said the timing for holiday promotions will remain consistent with 2010, 22% said they will begin earlier this year. A majority (63%) plan to start promotions in November, but some early birds plan to begin in October (13%), September (6%) and even August (6%).

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Industry Dashboard for Sept. 6, 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The "Consumer watch" section of the Dashboard shows gas prices rose a nickel last week, the unemployment rate was unchanged, and consumer confidence is plummeting.

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Lowe’s honored for hiring practices

BY Brae Canlen

The National Organization on Disabilities (NOD) has named Lowe’s as one of its “Fine Nine” companies that make hiring employees with disabilities a corporate priority.

The home improvement retailer utilizes both the NOD and the public vocational rehabilitation network to build awareness of the company’s job opportunities for people with disabilities, according to the announcement. "We draw on the strength of collaboration, bringing together many unique individuals in the workplace and the community to better meet the needs of our employees and our customers," said Steve Szilagyi, SVP distribution at Lowe’s.

The other companies named among the “Fine Nine” are Sam’s Club, JB Hunt, Tyson Foods, Aetna, Toys ‘R’ Us, Saint Barnabus Health Care System, Sodexo and ADP.

 

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T.SMART says:
Sep-09-2011 06:26 pm

I would like to strongly
I would like to strongly disagree in regard to Lowe's hiring the physically challenged. I have had a form of Muscular Dystrophy and wear leg braces. I have also worked in the hardware/paint/building materials industry for nearly 40 years at the retail, wholesale and manufacturer level. Since 2002 I have applied for jobs at Lowe's as well as Home Depot. I firmly believed that based on my experience I would have more than a good shot at employment. I spoke to a store manager on the pjone and he told me to come in with my resume and to make sure I spoke with him before proceeding any further. After I spoke with him, he told me to see one of the people in the back office where I was told that I had to apply online. I have kept track of the number of times that I applied via the online system, it is now over 40 times. Apparently Lowe's is not interested in having someone with a vast experience in their industry who is visibly challeged work for them. I was able to find employment with a company in an industry that I had no experience, but was willing to work within the POSSIBLE limitations that might be present. I find it very difficult to accept Lowe's acclamation for their hiring practices with the disabled. I will not even go in a Lowe's, nevermind making a purchase there. Tom Smart New Milford, CT

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