Home Depot to hire 70,000 seasonal workers
Is the timing right?
The chain, which raised its earnings outlook in November for the third time in six months, says the workers will help it maintain high levels of customer service as the public buys plants, gardening equipment and grills, along with other seasonal merchandise. Tim Crow, Home Depot's executive vice president of human resources, told Bloomberg News that the Atlanta, Ga., company is starting the hiring process earlier this year, beginning next month in South Florida.
"There's an early-mover advantage," he said. "There is competition for the best employees."
U.S. retailers hiked their hiring by 14.5% in the fourth quarter, as companies expected to have a solid holiday season. Those hopes appear to have been dashed. Retail sales rose less than expected in December, indicating that consumers kept a firm grip on their wallets even though retailers like Macy's (M) offered steep discounts. Many companies, such as Target (TGT), reported disappointing holiday sales. Best Buy (BBY) may have disappointed customers by failing to get some orders delivered in time for the holidays.
If struggling retailers cut staffing, it may be easier than expected for Home Depot to hire temporary workers.
Jonathan Berr owns shares of Target.
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