News

Holiday hiring outlook for retail looks positive

BY Marianne Wilson

Early signs from retailers indicate a hot job market for workers this holiday season.

Despite store closures and consolidation within the industry, retailers are signaling that there might be high demand for seasonal jobs, according to a forecast from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“The competition among major big-box retailers will incentivize consumers to spend more this holiday season. These stores will need to add staff in order to meet demand,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The Challenger forecast comes on the heels of an announcement by Target that it hiring 100,000 seasonal store associates for the holidays, up some 40% from last year.

Last year, seasonal retail employment increased by 641,000 during the final three months of the year, the lowest number since the 495,800 retail hires announced in the final months of 2009. Last year’s job gains were 9.6% lower than the previous year, when retailers added 708,800 jobs, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Last year, BLS data showed that transportation and warehousing employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 246,700 workers in the final quarter of the year, 8% higher than the 228,400 workers hired in this sector in the final three months of 2015. In 2007, the seasonal job gains for this sector measured just 24,300.

“As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers," said Challenger. "While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online.”

According to Challenger tracking, retailers have announced over 6,000 store closures and 67,000 job cuts in the first eight months of the year. However, despite these numbers, retailers projected the highest number of hiring announcements for any industry, with over 248,000.

Since 2012, holiday hiring announcements have averaged 604,000 per year, according to Challenger tracking. Some of those announcements are from non-retailers, such as FedEx and UPS. The bulk of those hiring announcements occur in September. In fact, between 2011 and 2016, hiring announcements in September have averaged over 415,000.

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ECOMMERCE

Shoptalk 2018 reveals initial speaker lineup

BY Marianne Wilson

The president and CEO of Macy's, Jeff Gennette, and Google's president of global partnerships, Daniel Alegre, will be among the headliners at Shoptalk 2018, the nex-gen retail and e-commerce event.

Also on the bill: Alon Cohen, president and co-founder of Houzz, the home furnishings and design site. Shoptalk's final agenda will feature more than 400 speakers, an increase of 25% over 2017’s event.

Now in its third year, Shoptalk will be held March 18-21, 2018 at the Venetian in Las Vegas. More than 7,500 attendees, including over 700 CEOs, are expected to attend. The event will be sponsored by more than 400 companies.

In addition, more than 1,000 retailers and brands will enroll in Shoptalk's hosted meetings program, which facilitates onsite meetings for retailers and brands with emerging providers of technology and other solutions.

Shoptalk's agenda highlights the key technologies, trends and business models that are transforming the ecosystem for a digital age. Insights are shared by speakers in more than 100 main stage and track sessions.

While additional speakers are still being confirmed, the lineup, in addition to the previously mentioned, includes Ascena Retail Group CEO David Jaffe, UNTUCKit co-founder and CEO Aaron Sanandres, BJ's Wholesale chief digital officer Rafeh Masood, Allbirds co-founder Tim Brown, and Instacart chief business officer Nilam Ganenthiran.

"Our lineup of speakers already represents a broad spectrum of different company sizes, categories and geographies, and we'll be adding even more global companies to the agenda", said Zia Daniell Wigder, chief global content officer, Shoptalk. "This international focus is essential given that retail and ecommerce are changing everywhere around the world and no single geographic region dominates in terms of innovation: To fully understand how these industries are evolving, a global lens is now essential."

For more information, visit Shoptalk.com. The preliminary agenda can be found at Shoptalk.com/agenda.

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FINANCE

Done deal: Staples goes private

BY Marianne Wilson

Staples is done trading on Nasdaq.

Sycamore Partners announced that it has completed its acquisition of the office supply giant. Under the terms of the deal, which was announced in June, Staples was acquired by the private equity firm in a transaction valued at approximately $6.9 billion.

"We are pleased to have completed this transaction and look forward to partnering with CEO Shira Goodman and the Staples management team as we seek to increase long-term profitability," said Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners. “With the support of its dedicated associates, Staples is well-positioned to leverage its iconic brand and leading competitive position to drive even greater value for its business-to-business and retail customers in the U.S. and Canada.”

In May 2016, Staples abandoned its quest to acquire rival Office Depot for some $6.3 billion amid antitrust concerns by the Federal Trade Commission. As a result of the completion of the merger, the common stock of Staples will no longer be listed for trading on Nasdaq.

"We look forward to benefitting from Sycamore Partners’ retail and wholesale experience as we work together to deliver exceptional products, services and expertise that enable businesses to work better," Goodman said.

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