Last Modified: Saturday, October 27, 2012 7:12 PM
Some retail businesses around the region are preparing for the 2012 holiday season by adding employees to their staffs.
Big retailers may lead the pack in hiring temporary workers while smaller establishments may attempt to keep up with anticipated sales with minimal employee increases.
Earlier this month, the National Retail Federation announced that nationwide, retailers are expected to hire 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal workers.
A projected increase in sales is influencing the hiring.
“Holiday sales this year will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion. NRF’s 2012 holiday forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent. Actual holiday sales in 2011 grew 5.6 percent,” according to a news release from NRF.
Locally, smaller retailers are looking at the upcoming holiday season as a means to continue improving the balance sheet after the national recession.
“With the holidays rolling around we may look for extra help. Right now I have three people on staff,” said Sara Dean, manager of the Bicycle Superstore, at 722 E. Prien Lake Road. “There is a chance we may look for one or two more people, especially in the part-time realm.”
She said bicycles are items that people buy as gifts during the holiday season.
“What we need are people that are good at customer service as well as being familiar with bikes and are interested in the biking community,” Dean said.
Carol Henry, owner of The Perfect Gift, at 2712 Hodges St., has experienced 13 holiday sales seasons.
She expects to add some temporary staffers. “I have two part-time employees now, and I will double that,” she said.
Henry said her profits have been “steady” over the years. She trusts her instincts in knowing what to do in preparation for the holiday season.
“This is a small gift shop. I’ve been doing this so long that I know what will be needed,” she said.
Alverne Martin, owner of Ann Marie’s Hallmark and Gift Shoppe in Jennings, has owned her business since 1996. She said her business has experienced consistent sales during the holidays since the recession.
“Honestly, holiday time is the best time for my retail business. During Thanksgiving and Christmas we have a good sales spike. People in Jennings shop in Jennings,” she said. “I used to have six people in here years ago but not any more. I have three of four employees at all times, even during the holiday season.”
Nationwide, big retailers are announcing how many seasonal employees they intend to hire.
Walmart plans to hire 50,000 for 4,000 stores. Target intends to hire 90,000. Kohl’s — with 1,146 stores in 49 states — plans to hire 52,700. Toys R Us is hiring 45,000 people.