Kronos Retail Labor Index reaches highest level since August 2008
Chelmsford, Mass. — The ratio of retail hires to applicants has gone up to the highest number since August 2008, rising to 4.8% in October, according to the Kronos Retail Labor Index. (The Index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3% means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred.)
“The increase in the RLI this month reflected a solid, 6.7% gain in hires while applications were essentially unchanged, in contrast to recent months when sharp declines in applications – not a surge in hiring – were pushing the Index higher,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up. “Strong readings on retail sales in September likely boosted retailer confidence, contributing to the pick-up in October hiring.”
The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample made 35,160 hires (seasonally adjusted) in October 2012, up 6.7% from the previous month. This was the first increase in five months and put the number of hires in October 5.2% above its level one year ago.
The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample was little changed in October, edging down to 735,273 from an upwardly revised 736,524 in September 2012. Applications have been moving down from highs reached last year, and the level in October was nearly 200,000 below its level one year ago.
Sears and Kmart to open on Thanksgiving
Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced that both Sears and Kmart stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. The company said its made the decision based in part on feedback from members of its Shop Your Way loyalty program, who sought more flexible Black Friday in-store shopping times and eagerness to shop doorbuster deals.
Sears stores will open at 8 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day and stay open overnight until 10 p.m. on Black Friday. Kmart stores will be open from 6 a.m. local time until 4 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and reopen from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Black Friday.
Hot Topic announces test of new retail concept
City of Industry, Calif. — On the heels of its Wednesday report that the company gained just 0.2% in October same-store sales, Hot Topic Inc. also announced plans to test a new store that will specialize in dark, edgy lingerie.
Called Blackheart, the concept will target the company’s core teen customer and will debut with five stores in southern California and Texas malls as well as online offerings beginning in mid-November.