MERIDEN — Local chain retailers are banking on a green holiday shopping season and plan to hire thousands of workers as consumers express more confidence in the economy.
Anchor stores at Westfield Meriden mall, such as Macy’s and Boscov’s, have either held or are planning job fairs to fill seasonal positions in sales as well as inventory, distribution and customer service, according to the National Retail Federation.
Macy’s held a hiring event on Sept. 30 and continues to advertise sales and cosmetic counter jobs for the Meriden store, and warehouse jobs at its fulfillment center in Cheshire on websites such as Snagajob.com and Indeed.com. The company announced plans in late September to hire 83,000 associates.
“We first offer our current associates the opportunity to work extra hours over the holidays, and then supplement our ongoing workforces with seasonal hires,” Terry J. Lundren, Macy’s Inc. chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
About 15,000 of the 83,000 total seasonal positions will be based in direct-to-consumer fulfillment facilities such as the Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s distribution center on Knotter Drive in Cheshire. This is an increase of 3,000 positions compared to 2015, with hiring divided between centers in Cheshire and eight other cities.
Boscov’s department store celebrates its first year at the Westfield Meriden mall this month as it prepares for its second holiday shopping season. The company is hosting a job fair Nov. 2.
“We’re doing well, celebrating our one-year anniversary and will be hiring for the holidays,” said manager Tony Georgetti. “But it’s challenging to say (how many).”
This holiday season, the retail federation predicts retailers will hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers, in line with last year’s 675,300 holiday positions. In addition to seasonal positions, retail indirectly creates many jobs for workers in transportation, manufacturing and fulfillment.
Retailers with online purchase operations stand to gain as consumers plan more online shopping this year, according to market researcher NPD Group Inc.
Amazon, the largest online retailer, is advertising for part-time workers at its Wallingford sorting center on Research Parkway. According to amazon.force.com, the retailer is offering holiday overtime pay in addition to a weekly pay schedule, basic life insurance, on-the-job training and an employee assistance program. Employees are expected to handle packages from small envelopes to boxes ranging up to 49 pounds, as well as operate carts, dollies, hand trucks and other moving equipment. The starting pay is $12.25 an hour.
NPD Group estimates that consumers plan to spend an average of $636 on holiday-related expenses, up 3 percent from what they anticipated last year. The group’s 2016 holiday intentions survey also revealed consumers are less concerned about the economy spoiling their holiday spending than in past years. When asked how the state of the economy will influence their holiday purchases in 2016, 12 percent replied it would have a significant impact, down from 14 percent in 2015, and 19 percent in 2014.
“All signs point to a holiday retail season that will out perform last year’s,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst. “The unvarying holiday spending intentions expressed by consumers are a sign that even this year’s intense election cycle has done little to dampen consumer confidence going into the holiday season, which we forecast to grow moderately.”
Other national retailers offering jobs on Snagajob.com and Indeed.com in area towns include Target, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory and Michaels. Jobs listed on the Westfield Meriden website include positions at Lane Bryant, Claire’s Kay Jewelers, Forever 21 (F21 Red), Francesca’s, and Christopher Banks.
The mall doesn’t typically host a job fair for holiday employment but does offer assistance to individual retailers looking for help, said marketing manager Katherine Bolas.
“We don’t receive additional details such as hiring numbers from individual retailers,” Bolas said. “Also, while we do not host a center-wide job fair we do provide additional opportunities for stores that are interested in added support for their seasonal hiring. For example, we often allow stores to use the common area to host a hiring table, or to display hiring information on a rented kiosk.”