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Retailers Gear Up for Holiday Season, Unveil Hiring Plans


With the holiday season approaching, it goes without saying that retailers are gearing up for the busiest time of the year. Certainly, retail bellwethers will leave no stone unturned to make the most of the season and better serve their patrons, this time too. Retail giants such as Target Corp. TGT and Kohl's Corp. KSS have announced their hiring plans for the upcoming holiday season.

Per media reports, Target intends to employ 70,000 associates, while Kohl's will deploy over 69,000 workers nationwide, this holiday season. The recruiting plans of both retailers remain almost unchanged from last year. However, Target will hire another 7,500 people for its distribution center and fulfillment facilities. Macy's, Inc. M and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT are yet to unveil their hiring plans.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm, U.S. retailers will employ about 738,800 seasonal workers for the holidays.

The holiday season is the time when retailers are well on their toes, flooding the markets with offers and promotions. They will sweep buyers off their feet with early-hour store openings, huge discounts, promotional strategies, and free shipping on online purchases. Since the season accounts for a sizeable chunk of yearly revenues and profits, retailers will grab every opportunity to drive footfall.

The recent rebound in oil prices, higher consumer confidence and a gradual improvement in the housing market are signals that the economy is on a recovery mode, and undoubtedly the retailers will try to exploit every opportunity. Data compiled by eMarketer suggests a 3.3% jump in holiday sales. Retail E-commerce holiday season sales are anticipated to increase 17.2%, thanks to online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN.

Bottom Line

Retailers are efficiently allocating a large chunk of their capital toward a multi-channel growth strategy focused on improving merchandise offerings, developing IT infrastructure to enhance the web and mobile experience of customers, renovating stores with a modern look, developing fulfillment centers to enable speedy delivery, implementing an enterprise-wide inventory management system as well as enhancing their relationship with existing and new customers.

We believe that with the advent of the holiday season, the retail sector will hog all the attention. So, how about betting your bucks on lucrative options? Out of the five stocks mentioned above, Macy's carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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