- Kohl's has started an early wave of seasonal hiring across 500 stores to support its back-to-school and holiday sales seasons, the department store retailer said in a press release Wednesday.
- After the first wave, the company plans to begin its broader holiday hiring in August. The retailer is also hiring 3,000 associates to fill omnichannel and customer service functions in stores, as well as the staff for five new stores opening in the U.S. this fall, it said.
- Additionally, Kohl's is hiring seasonal workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers, and will start hiring in October for a new omnichannel pilot at 130 stores that will bring in 50 seasonal positions per store.
Kohl's was among the top hirers in retail last holiday season, with plans to bring in 90,000 associates. In a tight labor market, it may pay to move early as retailers try to fill their stores and logistics networks.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas' Andrew Challenger said last year that retailers were having to "offer competitive compensation or other perks to attract the workers" in addition to "offering discounted merchandise or special shopping days for their employees." (For its part, Kohl's offers a 15% discount, special shopping days and a weekly pay schedule to help lure new hires.)
The job market remains tight, and retail sales are still growing so far this year, notwithstanding President Donald Trump's most recently threatened tariffs on a host of Chinese goods (currently on hold while the countries engage in trade talks).
Kohl's, though, posted weak holiday sales despite its preparation and has struggled with softer sales earlier this year and has cut its guidance for 2019.
Helping to boost Kohl's over the long run may be its expanded buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) services, which among other benefits has helped the retailer manage its inventory. BOPIS also makes its stores more important pieces in the supply chain. As the hiring announcement makes clear, the services are becoming a major function for its employees in stores.