Amazon plans to hire 80,000 workers for the holiday season

October 16, 2014 11:07 AM Inc.’s holiday hiring plans this year call for 80,000 seasonal workers to gather and sort e-commerce orders in warehouses. Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says it operates at least 50 fulfillment centers in the United States and will have “more than 15 sortation centers by the end of 2014.”

Last year, Amazon hired 70,000 full-time seasonal workersfor the holiday shopping season, a spokeswoman says. "Amazon converted thousands of seasonal employees into regular, full-time roles after the holidays. We expect to do the same this year," she says.

Online holiday sales, along with mail orders, could increase at least 13.5% in November and December, far more than the 4.0% to 4.5% growth expected for all retail sales during the holiday shopping season, according to a recent Deloitte projection., the online division of the National Retailer Federation, forecasts nonstore sales—from the web, catalogs, TV infomercials and other direct channels—will grow between 8% and 11% this year to as much as $105 billion. The NRF predicts retail sales during November and December will increase 4.1%.

Amazon’s U.S. holiday hiring news comes amid continuing labor problems for the retailer in Europe. In late September, Inc. workers in Germany expanded a strike to a fifth logistics center as the country’s largest union pushes the U.S.-based online retailer to recognize the union and pay higher wages. Amazon has some 15,000 distribution center workers in Germany. The country represents Amazon’s largest market outside the United States in terms of sales, and Amazon holds the No. 1 spot in Internet Retailer’s Europe 500 guide.

Amazon also faces pressure at the U.S. Supreme Court, which is hearing a case about whether warehouse workers employed by a subcontractor must be paid for time spent undergoing post-shift security searches.

Other e-commerce players have also announced their own holiday hiring plans. Retail chain Kohl’s Corp., No. 23 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, said it expects to hire 67,000 seasonal workers to help holiday shoppers both in stores and via A projected 9,300 of those workers will staff the chain’s warehouses. FedEx Corp. has said it will hire 50,000 package handlers, helpers, drivers and other workers to help the shipping carrier get packages from e-retailers to online shoppers this holiday season.

Meanwhile, Zazzle Inc., the personalized products web-only retailerthat is No. 136 in the Top 500, said this week it would hire for the holiday shopping season “650 people across a variety of roles in our manufacturing facilities” in San Jose, CA, plus additional locations in Redwood City, CA; San Diego; and Cork, Ireland. Zazzle hired some 800 workers last holiday season. A spokeswoman says Zazzle expects to hire fewer seasonal workers this year than last because it retained many of the seasonal employees it hired last year as regular workers, and that it has made several areas of its manufacturing process more efficient.

Amazon today also announced another initiative for the holiday shopping season. Its Amazon Wine online store will offer “60 Days of Deals,” a program that enables consumers to shop “one-day only deals from wine sellers featuring deep discounts of at least 40% off.”




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