Target will have twice as many workers dedicated to contactless services for drive-up and order pickup for the holiday season, as retailers prepare for an unusual shopping season while the country still grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minneapolis-based retailer also plans to hire more seasonal team members to staff its distribution centers, as industry analysts predict a surge in online spending.
“We do expect this to be a very different holiday season,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell, in a media call Thursday morning.
Last year, Target brought on an additional 130,000 workers to help with the seasonal rush, and while their roles might be different, the retailer plans to add about the same number of employees this year.
Holiday retail sales are expected to inch up a modest 1 to 1.5% over last year, but online sales are expected to grow by 25 to 35%, according to advisory firm Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast published last week.
The expected surge prompted FedEx earlier this month to announce plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers, a jump from 55,000 last year. Amazon plans to hire an additional 100,000 workers, as does UPS.
And for the first time in five years, according to CNBC, Walmart is boosting its workforce significantly for the holiday season, planning to add 20,000 employees.
“For retailers, this holiday season will continue to push the boundaries on the importance of online, convenience, the role of the store and the criticalness of safe and speedy fulfillment,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte and its U.S. retail and distribution sector leader, in a statement.
Deloitte analysts said the economy’s uncertainty could result in a few different holiday season results.
One would be consumers spending less to save money for necessities; another would be a consumer confidence boost encouraged by additional federal financial relief and progress in the development of an effective coronavirus vaccine.
During the summer, Target announced that its holiday deals will begin to be offered online and in stores earlier starting in October as a way to cut down on crowds at its stores.
That’s consistent with a National Retail Federation survey released last week that found most retailers expect consumers to begin holiday shopping in October.
Similar to other major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy, Target also announced it would be closed Thanksgiving Day.
In addition, this holiday season Target plans to make 20,000 more products including gifts, essentials and fresh and frozen groceries available for pickup and delivery.
Target didn’t share additional details Thursday about its Black Friday plan or any other holiday promotions.
Seasonal workers will receive 14 days off if they become ill or are quarantined for COVID-19, and a $15 minimum wage.
Existing Target employees also can work additional hours in their current role and train to work in other areas of the store for the season.
In the Twin Cities, Target plans to hire about 6,000 seasonal workers at stores and 1,400 at its distribution centers.
Wages for distribution center workers in the Twin Cities will start at $18 an hour.