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Walmart Deviates From Holiday Hiring Spree Amid Economic Uncertainty

Walmart

As the holiday shopping season approaches, Walmart has announced that it is will not hire additional staff to serve customers during this peak period.

This comes as other major U.S. retailers, concerned about a potential slowdown in seasonal shopping, rising labor costs and economic uncertainties, are scaling back on their typical hiring sprees, according to a Monday (Oct. 16) Reuters report.

“We’re staffed and ready to serve the customers this holiday season,” Maren Dollwet Wagonner, Walmart’s senior vice president of people, said in a LinkedIn post last week. “We’ve been hiring throughout the year to be sure we are ready to serve customers however they want to shop.”

Walmart’s approach involves offering additional hours to existing employees and hiring more staff as needed. Wagonner’s LinkedIn post did not set a hiring target for this year. In comparison, the retail giant hired 40,000 seasonal workers last year.

The decision by major U.S. retailers, including Walmart, to exercise caution in their holiday season outlook is driven by several factors. Firstly, retailers anticipate higher labor costs that they cannot pass on to consumers who are already feeling the pinch of rising interest rates. Secondly, retailers are relying more on employee referrals rather than extensive advertising to fulfill their staffing needs.

The uncertainty surrounding consumer spending and the anticipation of a slower holiday season are key concerns for retailers. Recent earnings reports from retailers, including Target and Macy’s, indicate a hesitancy among consumers as they navigate rising prices and inflation. Additionally, the resumption of student loan payments may impact consumers’ disposable income and their ability to spend during the holiday season.

These cautious hiring practices are reflected in the Challenger, Gray & Christmas report, which indicates that seasonal hiring by U.S. retailers is expected to reach its lowest level since 2008.

However, online retail giant Amazon is bucking the trend with plans to hire 250,000 seasonal workers, significantly more than last year’s 150,000 staffers. The company’s decision to expand its workforce for the holiday season reflects its confidence in the continued growth of online shopping and its ability to meet customer demands during this busy period. 

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