Target Is Hiring 120,000 Seasonal Workers This Holiday, a Record for Traditional Retail

(Bloomberg) -- Those looking for more evidence of retail’s renaissance might want to visit a Target Corp. store on Oct. 12.

That’s when the cheap-chic retailer, amid the Halloween candy displays, will start taking applications for the record 120,000 seasonal workers it plans to hire this holiday season. That’s the most by a brick-and-mortar retailer in at least six years, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., which tracks holiday hires. The amount is 20 percent more than what Target hired last year, and is only bested by Inc., which last year hired just over 120,000.

The hiring surge reflects the tailwinds enjoyed by most retailers as the sector moves into the critical holiday shopping season. Record-low unemployment, soaring consumer confidence and the fastest wage increase since 2009 have shoppers primed to spend, both in stores and online. Target and Walmart just posted their best quarterly sales growth in about a decade, while Best Buy Co., Nordstrom Inc. and others also delivered heady expansion. Not all retailers are benefiting, though -- supermarket chain Kroger Co.’s shares fell the most in six months Thursday after growth missed estimates.

Online sales are fueling much of the demand. Target said it plans to almost double the number of hires that are assigned to help fulfill digital orders, and Macy’s Inc. said more than one-quarter of its 80,000 hires this year will work to fill web orders. Amazon hasn’t yet disclosed its holiday hiring plans, while rival Walmart in recent years has relied on its existing workforce to handle additional hours.

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