Amazon hires 20% more holiday employees

October 13, 2016 02:18 PM Inc.’s sales are growing, and so, too, is the number of seasonal employees it will hire in its fulfillment and sorting centers.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, will hire 120,000 seasonal employees to keep up with the anticipated spike in demand this holiday season. That is a 20% increase compared with last year, when it brought on 100,000 seasonal employees.

“This increase highlights Amazon's dominance, as other U.S. retailers have announced holiday hiring plans which are consistent or lower than their plans from last year,” says Ohad Hagai, vice president of marketing at automatic repricing services platform vendor Feedvisor. “Amazon's third-party [marketplace] sellers should expect a strong Q4 and should make sure they have everything in place to capitalize on this opportunity.”

According to supply chain consulting firm MWPVL, Amazon now has 80 fulfillment and redistribution centers in the U.S., with 22 planned to open.

Scot Wingo, executive chairman of marketplace advisory firm ChannelAdvisor Corp., points to numbers that show Amazon grew its overall sales by 28% during the second quarter, the most recent quarter for which it has filed earnings.

“There’s several ways you increase your capacity—you increase your fulfillment centers and automation [in fulfillment centers],” he says. Amazon also constantly works on the software to make its fulfillment centers more efficient, he says.

Wingo says he expects Amazon to have six or seven new fulfillment centers up and running in time for the holidays, which should help the retailer deal with the expected influx in orders.

“The people they’re adding plus the automation plus the new fulfillment centers could hopefully get them to the 30% capability,” he says, referring to his projection that Amazon’s holiday sales will increase as much as 30%.

Amazon is the latest major retailer to announce its holiday hiring plans. Here are the others who have announced theirs so far:

  • Macy’s Inc. (No. 6 in the Top 500): Macy’s will hire the same number of seasonal employees this year as it did last year—83,000. The major difference is that about 15,000 of those employees will work in the retailer’s direct-to-consumer fulfillment centers, 25% more than last year.
  • Kohl’s Corp. (No. 19): Kohl’s will hire 69,000 seasonal employees, the same as last year. The retailer emphasized e-commerce in its holiday hiring announcement, saying, “Store associates stock merchandise and assist customers on the sales floor and at the point of sale. They also help fill buy online, pick up in store orders from, as well as fulfill orders designated to ship from stores direct to Kohl’s customers.” 
  • Target Corp. (No. 22): Target will hire 70,000 seasonal employees in its stores. Like Macy’s, the retail chain will direct more seasonal employees to its fulfillment centers. Target will hire 7,500 seasonal fulfillment center employees in addition to the 70,000 it will hire for its stores, up 15.4% from 6,500 last year.



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