The holidays are right around the corner, and with that comes a once-a-year hiring spree across retail and related industries.
Some companies make close to half of their annual revenue during the holiday quarter, and almost all retailers see a surge in customer traffic. That means they need to staff up with tens of thousands of additional workers to handle demand, but the boom doesn't only affect retailers. Their suppliers, like toy and gadget manufacturers, will also see a bump in sales as those products make popular gifts. Package delivery companies will see their networks strained as online shopping has grown each year.
With that in mind, let's take a look at five companies that are adding jobs this holiday season.
Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) apparently has big plans for the holiday season; the mass merchandiser said it will hire 100,000 additional workers at its nearly 2,000 stores across the country, on top of about 323,000 employees it already has. That's about 30% more than its seasonal hiring last year. Hiring projections are often based on sales forecasts, so Target seems to be expecting a rush come December.
The big-box chain also recently announced that it would raise its minimum wage to $11/hour and lift it to $15/hour by 2020, so Target may be a good place to start a job search if you're looking for permanent employment after the holidays.
Department store chains like Macy's (NYSE:M) have long relied on the holiday season to deliver a jolt to their profits, and that need has only grown in the current retail environment, with brick-and-mortar store traffic pressured by online shopping. Analysts expect 73% of Macy's profits this year to come from the holiday quarter.
Not surprisingly, Macy's is beefing up its workforce to meet that holiday demand with plans to hire 80,000 seasonal workers this year. That number is down from 83,000 temporary hires, likely a reflection of the company's smaller base as it's closed 70 stores during that time.
However, Macy's stressed that it would increase hiring for workers who support e-commerce by 20% to 18,000, a sign of the growing importance of online sales and the retailer's shift in strategy.
3. United Parcel Service
Package delivery companies also see business spike during the holiday season, especially since online shopping has boomed, so it's no surprise to see United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) on the list -- the country's biggest transportation and logistics company.
UPS says it will hire about 95,000 people to help with the holiday season, as the company noted an "anticipated increase in package volume" from November to January. As a percentage of total retail sales, e-commerce spikes every holiday season as shoppers rush to get all their gifts and inclement weather keeps some indoors. That trend and the overall growth in e-commerce should mean increased holiday hiring for UPS in years to come.
4. Toys "R" Us
Toys "R" Us may have just declared bankruptcy, but the company would be crazy to close any of its stores before the upcoming holiday season. The kid-centric retailer, which also operates Babies "R" Us, said it would add about 12,500 seasonal employees for the gift-giving season in its six biggest markets. In past years, the company has hired as many as 40,000 workers, but it's unclear if it will add more than the announced 12,500.
As much as 70% of toy sales come during the holiday season, so meeting demand and keeping stores fresh and full is key this time of year for Toys "R" Us. As the company tries to restructure its debt, a successful season could help negotiations by showing lenders it has longevity.
5. J.C. Penney
Like Toys "R" Us, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is also a struggling retailer aiming to staff up this holiday season.
The department store chain plans to hire 40,000 seasonal workers, the same as last year, even though it's closed 138 stores since then. The company is adding cashiers and stockers, as well as beauty consultants to help in its Sephora stores, which have been a rare bright spot for the company.
This year's holiday season will be crucial for J.C. Penney and its investors since the stock is heavily shorted, with about 42% of shares sold short. If the company can deliver meaningful revenue during this key period, it may help revive its ailing stock price.
Still, with its recent store closures and lack of profits, J.C. Penney is in a weaker hiring position than competitors like Amazon and Target.