OPERATIONS

Kronos Index: Holiday hiring lagging behind last year

BY CSA STAFF

Chelmsford, Mass. — A report released by workforce management solution-provider Kronos found that holiday hiring levels are lagging behind 2009 numbers.

According to the Kronos Retail Labor Index, which analyzes demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector, the index decreased in October to 3%, down 16% from the September 2010 level of 3.6%. (A level of 3% means that for every 100 applications received, three hirings occurred).

The retailers representing 27,034 distributed locations across the United States that make up the Kronos data sample recorded 31,569 hirings (on a seasonally adjusted basis) in October 2010, a decrease of 16.7% from the September 2010 seasonally adjusted figure of 37,900 and a 34% decrease from the 47,906 hirings that occurred in October 2009.

The supply of applications was down just slightly from 1,059,617 in September to 1,052,765 in October. This number is down significantly from October 2009 when 1,443,725 applications were processed.

Employee retention decreased slightly in October 2010 as compared with September 2010. The percentage of employees remaining on the job 60 days or more was 82.7%, a decrease of 1.8% from September 2010.

"This month’s Index indicates that retailers are not anticipating that they will need as many workers as last year to staff the holiday season,” said Dr. Robert Yerex, chief economist, Kronos. “According to our numbers, holiday hiring appears to be on a trajectory that will bring it in at a level 19.3% below last year’s and 44.5% below the peak holiday season hiring year of 2006. The early figures on holiday hiring translate to a 13.4% reduction in retailers’ expectations of holiday sales as compared to 2009."

The Kronos Retail Labor Index is released on a monthly basis.

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Wal-Mart to offer free shipping for online buys

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Heating up the holiday retailing war, Wal-Mart Stores announced Thursday that it will offer free shipping on nearly 60,000 online items — with no minimum purchase requirement.

Wal-Mart’s free shipping offer, which includes most electronics, jewelry and toys, will run through Dec. 20.

According to Steve Nave, senior VP and general manager of Walmart.com, Walmart is trying to help its cost-conscious shoppers "save money so they can bring home more for less this holiday season."

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Talbots, JDA Software team toward inventory improvements

BY CSA STAFF

Scottsdale, Ariz. JDA Software Group, The Supply Chain Co., announced Thursday that Talbots has selected JDA Allocation to optimize product allocations at its 580 stores in the United States and Canada.

The solution is being implemented to help Talbots eliminate the manual process of creating store-specific allocations based on inventory and assortment plans for new and existing products. The retailer selected JDA Managed Services to handle the long-term, day-to-day management and operation of JDA Allocation.

“We believe the functionality of JDA Allocation will enhance our ability to allocate product to the right store at the right time,” said John Kovac, senior VP and chief information officer, Talbots.

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