OPERATIONS

Survey: Retail holiday hires grow

BY Dan Berthiaume

Chicago – More retailers are hiring extra holiday staff this year. According to a new annual holiday hiring survey from CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive, 39% of retail hiring managers reported that they plan to hire seasonal workers this year, up from 36% last year and 29% in 2011.

Some employers will hire seasonal employees in November (27%) and December (10%), the majority of employers stop accepting applications by the end of October. Popular holiday positions include customer service (33%), shipping/delivery (18%) and inventory management (17%). Half (51%) of employers hiring seasonal staff will pay $10 or more per hour. A majority of employers who hire holiday staff (67%) say they typically rehire some of the same people every year.

"Seasonal employment is expected to be somewhat better than last year, and can lead to more than just extra income for workers," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "Nearly half (49%) of U.S. employers who are hiring seasonal workers plan to transition some into full-time, permanent staff. This is up ten percentage points over last year and indicative of a growing trend where employers are test-driving candidates before committing to a long-term hire. Seasonal work is a good way for job seekers to network, showcase their abilities and secure a permanent position in a variety of industries."

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FINANCE

Report: Gap selects new Australian franchisee

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Gap Inc. has reportedly signed a non-binding agreement for Australia-based Oroton Group to take control of its franchise operation in Australia, New Zealand, and some Pacific islands. According to the Wall Street Journal, Oroton Group will start running Gap’s three franchise stores in Australia in November 2013 and purchase some inventory and store fixtures from current Gap franchisee Brand Republic Pty Ltd.

Brand Republic has been Gap’s Australian franchisee since 2010 and had planned to open 10-15 Gap stores by 2014. Oroton Group also recently signed a 10-year Australian franchise agreement with Brooks Brothers and had a license to distribute Ralph Lauren apparel in Australia and New Zealand expire in June 2013.

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FINANCE

Mall traffic impacts Wet Seal forecast

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. revising its financial guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ending November 2, 2013. The company now expects to report a same-store sales increase in the low-single digits, compared to previously forecast mid-single digits, as well as a larger net loss than previously estimated.

“Following our strong start to the quarter, mall traffic softened considerably during September and has continued into October, resulting in an increasingly promotional competitive environment in recent weeks,” said John D. Goodman, CEO of Wet Seal. “We expect to deliver improvement in most key financial metrics versus the year ago period, but the need to implement more extensive promotions than planned has caused us to lower our margin and earnings expectations for the quarter.”

The company will report third quarter fiscal 2013 sales on Nov. 7, 2013, and expects to report full financial results and hold its quarterly earnings conference call on Nov. 25, 2013.

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