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Retailers’ confidence in the 2013 holiday season is reflected in plans for hiring, according to the seventh annual retail holiday survey released today by consulting firm Hay Group. Seventy-nine percent of retailers expect an increase in sales this holiday season, the highest percentage seen since the financial downturn, and 25 percent of retailers expect to hire more seasonal workers than they did in 2012 while 61 percent plan to hire at about the same level.
Most retailers (87 percent) cited general economic conditions as the factor that they are most concerned about negatively impacting sales this holiday season. However, the survey found long-term plans reflect continued confidence in the health of the sector, with 30 percent of retailers reporting that they expect to hire at least 25 percent of their seasonal hires as full-time staff after the holiday season.
Companies expect to pay more to attract and retain talent this holiday season, according to the survey. Twenty-two percent of retailers plan to increase wages for seasonal talent. Incentives and benefits are also expected to go up with 87 percent of retailers giving employees reduced prices on store merchandise compared to 71 percent last year. Thirty percent are also promising flexible schedules to seasonal staff, up from 21 percent in 2012.
According to the survey, the Affordable Care Act will have little impact on hiring. Seventy-eight percent of retailers reported that the ACA will have no effect on hiring this holiday season. Those that did report an impact said it would lead to less full time workers (9 percent), more part time workers (9 percent) or no guaranteed time for workers (4 percent).
Hay Group’s survey included responses from 23 major U.S. retailers including Zale Corp., Sports Authority, Hot Topic Inc., Petco Animal Supply Inc. and Stage Stores.