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Survey: Retailers bullish about holidays; up hiring plans

Philadelphia -- Three-fourths (75%) of retailers forecast an increase in holiday sales this year, according to a survey by Hay Group, a global management consultancy.

The annual Seasonal Staffing Survey report also finds that retailers have more confidence in holiday hiring plans. While 57% of retailers plan to hire seasonal workers at the same level as 2011, 36% say they will be hiring more. This stands in contrast to 2011 when just 10% planned to hire more seasonal workers than the year prior.

“Retailers are betting that 2012 is going to be a great holiday season,” said Craig Rowley, VP and global practice leader for Hay Group’s retail practice. “After four years of economic turbulence, they have figured out how to operate in an uncertain business environment and are calm and cool, knowing that they are ready, as they head into the holidays.”

Other highlights of the report include:

  • After planning throughout the year, fulfillment centers are more prepared and only minor staffing adjustments are needed for the holidays. On average, retailers say that 74% of their seasonal hires will be in stores and 12% will be in distribution centers.
  • While 58% of retailers will wait until November to begin their promotion blitz, 42% will start in October. Promotional plans indicate retailers have more confidence in the consumer. Few retailers (18%) feel pressure to match online-only prices, and 50% of retailers say they are looking to cut back on discounting overall this year.
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