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Macy's to hire 86K extra workers to keep up with holiday rush

Macy's plans to hire about 86,000 seasonal holiday workers nationwide, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.  Macy's said Monday that the growth is being fueled by its expanding online business. 

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    Customers stand outside Macy's store in New York. The retailer will hire an additional 86,000 seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season, driven by growth in online sales.
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Macy's plans to hire about 86,000 seasonal holiday workers nationwide to bolster its stores, call centers and distribution hubs, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.

The department store chain, which also operates Bloomingdale's, said Monday that the growth is being fueled by its expanding online business. This year, about 10,000 of the total 86,000 seasonal workers will be based in eight distribution center across the country. Last year, that figure was 7,000, the company said.

"Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are favorite places to shop throughout the holidays, and we strive to welcome and serve our customers with a consistently high level of care and attention, whether they are shopping in stores, online via desktop or on mobile devices,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer, in a press statement. “We first offer our current associates the opportunity to work extra hours over the holidays, then supplement our ongoing workforce with seasonal hires. All of our associates enjoy a special experience working in our fast-paced business during this festive time of the year.”

Macy's recently announced new efforts to complete with online rivals. This fall, it's testing a same-day delivery service for products purchased at Macys.com, bloomingdales.com or on its mobile-enabled websites. Macy's will offer same-day delivery to customers in eight major U.S. markets — Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Bloomingdale's will offer same-day delivery to customers in four major markets— Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.

“These seasonal positions represent much-needed jobs for America, and they fill an important niche in the employment spectrum. Especially at the holidays, we employ students working during break to help pay tuition, retirees seeking to remain active and individuals from many walks of life wanting to supplement their income. We are proud to offer them this opportunity to work in a fun, fast-paced and respectful environment,” Lundgren said.

“We have many examples of associates who started with us in temporary seasonal positions and stayed to enjoy a long and fulfilling career with our company. Seasonal employment is often an opportunity to get to know potential future employees and to identify talent that we can recruit as needs arise,” Lundgren said. “The holidays are a magical time of year, and helping customers select gifts from Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s is a special experience that generations of associates have enjoyed and found rewarding," he continued.

The pace of hiring at a retailer can serve as an indicator of expectations for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for 20 percent of the industry's annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

Hiring so far this year suggests rising optimism, and that extends to major shippers like UPS and FedEx.

UPS was caught off guard last year by spiking online orders, particularly from Amazon.com.

After announcing plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers last year, UPS hired 30,000 more. The company this year said it would be hiring 95,000 people to handle the load. FedEx plans to hire more than 50,000 seasonal workers, 10,000 more than last year.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest private employer, plans to hire 60,000 temporary workers, a nearly 10 percent increase over last year.

Kohl's plans to hire more than 67,000 seasonal workers, a 15 percent increase. It expects to hire an average of 50 associates per store, up 25 percent from a year ago.

Still, some merchants say they'll keep their holiday hiring steady with last year's level.

Target Corp. said it will hire 70,000 seasonal workers, even with 2013.

Shares of Macy's Inc., based in Cincinnati, slipped 41 cents to $59.26.

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