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Amazon to double staff for Christmas

Surge of holiday orders will be taken by more than 50,000 temporary workers. Many might become permanent.

October 17, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

Amazon.com Inc., the online retailer that has many bricks-and-mortar companies on the defensive, said it will hire more than 50,000 seasonal employees nationwide for the holiday shopping season.

That's more than double the 20,000 full-time workers that Amazon usually has staffing its 40 fulfillment centers around the U.S.

But with a surge of Christmas orders expected in the next few months, the hiring push is necessary, said Dave Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment for Amazon.

Many of the seasonal employees might end up joining the permanent Amazon workforce, whose members are paid 30% more than conventional retail workers, the company said. It would not say how many would join the full-time staff.

"Temporary associates play a critical role in meeting increased customer demand during the holiday season, and we expect thousands of temporary associates will stay on in full-time positions," Clark said.

Each year, retailers boost their ranks to handle the demand from shoppers who swarm the aisles on Black Friday and stay through Christmas.

Macy's said it will hire 80,000 seasonal workers, up 2.5% from last year. Wal-Mart will pick up 50,000 associates. Target will hire up to 90,000, and Kohl's said its temporary holiday workforce will increase 10% from last year to 52,700 workers.

Overall, the National Retail Federation estimates that U.S. retailers will hire up to 625,000 temporary employees for the holidays. Last year, stores hired 607,000 such workers.

Toys R Us will open temporary pop-up stores inside 24 Macy's locations nationwide. Wal-Mart expanded its layaway service and is testing a same-day delivery option. Target is fitting popular toys with shoppable QR codes for parents who want to buy gifts on the sly.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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