- Thanks to high customer interest, Macy's is hiring an extra 7,000 seasonal associates to help handle peak season traffic and fulfill omnichnanel orders, CBS News reports. Most workers will be part time only.
- The retail industry reports that sales have been higher thus far this season, beating out 2016's total of $655.8 billion. The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to rise at least 3.6% to 4%, for a total of between $678.75 billion to $682 billion. E-commerce rates could increase by 14% up to $107.4 billion.
- Previously, Macy's endured 11 quarters of sales declines, causing layoffs and closings.
The need for more holiday staff was unforeseen by Macy's in particular, and retail in general.
Calling retail a "declining business" with thin margins and high costs, experts cite increasingly high customer expectations as part of the reason retailers are failing in the face of e-commerce. Workers increasingly fear signing up to crew a sinking ship unlikely to offer lasting employment, unlike Amazon or logistics companies such as UPS and FedEx.
As recently as last month, sales at the famous chain reportedly dropped by 6.1% to $5.281 billion. Calling the store's efforts to market its growing reduced price offerings and beauty specialty departments a "flawed strategy," one expert even speculated that too much off-price goods would ultimately hurt the chain's efforts to regain its standing as a top flight retailer.
And yet, holiday retail sales — at least at Macy's — are off to a stellar start, even in the face of Black Friday technical glitches that caused long lines and delayed shoppers.
But could the hiring rush come a little too late?
New associates would be responsible for a wide range of tasks, including fulfilling key omnichannel orders. Now more than ever, retail supply chains are relying on strong in-store talent to ensure sales success. And talent is increasingly difficult to find.