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Target’s plan to win over seasonal workers: $12 an hour and $500 gift cards

libadmin September 13, 2018
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A job seeker talks with a Target human resources representative at a Target store in Chicago. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
September 13 at 8:24 AM

Retail giant Target is hoping to hire 120,000 seasonal workers this year, up 20 percent from last year — but knows it won’t be easy.

The nation’s unemployment rate, now 3.9 percent, remains near record lows, and retailers say it has become increasingly difficult to attract new workers. As a result, Target is offering more incentives than usual to lure temporary employees to its 1,800 stores and 39 distribution centers.

Among those perks: $12 an hour, $500 gift cards and 20 percent discounts on certain items, including fruits, vegetables and workout clothes.

“As the marketplace becomes more competitive, the significant investment we’re making in our team sets Target apart,” Stephanie Lundquist, the company’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement.

The company said it is also setting aside more than $2 million this year to give $500 gift cards to one randomly selected employee at each of its 1,800 stores and 39 distribution centers. Temporary workers will also receive a 10 percent employee discount on Target purchases, and time-and-a-half holiday pay on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Target’s hiring spree comes as American consumers are feeling better about the economy. A low unemployment rate, coupled with recent tax cuts that have increased take-home pay for many Americans, have helped boost sales for a number of big-name retailers, including Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Nordstrom.

Sales growth at Target reached its highest level in 13 years in the most recent quarter, as traffic to the company’s stores and website rose to “unprecedented levels.” Online sales, meanwhile, rose 41 percent as price-conscious consumers stocked up on toys, electronics and home goods.

“There is no doubt that, like others, we’re benefiting from a strong consumer environment — perhaps the strongest I’ve seen in my career,” Brian Cornell, Target’s chief executive, said in an earnings call last month.

Other retailers are also gearing up for the holidays. Macy’s says it plans to hire 80,000 seasonal workers this year, roughly the same number as it did last year. Kohl’s, meanwhile, began hiring for the holidays in July, in hopes of locking in qualified workers.

“We are hiring seasonal associates earlier than ever to ensure our teams are fully staffed, trained and ready to support peak shopping seasons,” Ryan Festerling, executive vice president of human resources at Kohl’s, said in a statement at the time.

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